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Clorox Beats on Volume Growth

OAKLAND, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Clorox (CLX - Get Report) beat fourth-quarter profit expectations thanks to higher sales, a lower tax rate and share repurchases.

Clorox said early Wednesday its quarterly profit actually fell 1.2% to $169 million, but the figure still topped analysts' consensus call by more than $10 million. On a per share basis, earnings grew 5% to $1.26 per share, from $1.20 per share, as Clorox repurchased 2.7 million shares of the company's common stock for $183 million in the recent quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenue increased 3.5% to a better-than-expected $1.48 billion, from $1.43 billion. Sales grew in all four of Clorox's business segments.

Clorox shares were unchanged in premarket trading Wednesday after the stock closed lower in Tuesday's session.

Clorox said its portfolio of brands, which includes Clorox, Glad, Brita, Armor All, Burt's Bees, STP and Kingsford, achieved its highest ever market share of 27.9%.

Volume in the fourth quarter grew 2%, led by gains in the company's cleaning and household segments.

Clorox did say that gross margins fell, as expected, in the quarter as commodity costs and inflationary pressures increased. This was partially offset by price increases on some products.
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