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Kimberly-Clark Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Now turning back to our results. On an adjusted basis, second quarter operating profit rose 8% with an operating margin of 14.7%. That's up 110 basis points compared to prior year. Our investment between the lines increased, including a $35 million step-up in strategic marketing to support our product innovations and targeted growth initiatives. Administrative and research spending also increased as we continue to build capabilities to support future growth, particularly in K-C International.

Second quarter adjusted earnings per share were $1.30 compared with $1.18 last year. While we benefited from a slightly lower adjusted effective tax rate, that effect was mostly offset by lower equity income.

Cash provided by operations in the second quarter was a solid $740 million. That compares to a strong year-ago performance of $771 million. In terms of primary working capital, I'm encouraged that we're on track with our plan to reduce our cash conversion cycle by at least 2 days this year.

We continue to allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways. During the second quarter, we repurchased 2.5 million shares of KMB stock at a cost of $200 million. We now anticipate full year share repurchases of $1.3 billion, up from our previous target of $900 million to $1.1 million for the year. This reflects our expectation for additional excess cash flow, including proceeds from the exercise of stock options.

And the last, we're now expecting a more moderate year-on-year decline in our diluted share count than we previously anticipated. That's mostly due to the accounting impact of option exercises.

Now I'll highlight a few areas from our segment results for the quarter. In Personal Care, organic sales rose 7%, with volumes up 4% and net selling prices advancing 3%. We had another quarter of strong volume growth in K-C International, including high-single digit growth in each of our major regions. The growth initiatives performed very well. In fact, in the Diaper category, specifically, China volumes grew by more than 40%, and Brazil and Russia volumes were each up approximately 20%. Elsewhere, our European business delivered solid volume growth in the quarter, while our North American volumes were down slightly.

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