After issuing a warning of slow earnings growth that rattled investor confidence in so-called Old Economy stocks last month,
Procter & Gamble
reported results Tuesday that met reduced expectations.
For the third quarter ended March 31, the maker of Tide, Crest and Pampers earned $753 million, or 52 cents a diluted share, including charges of $170 million from the company's reorganization plan. Excluding the charges, as Wall Street analysts did in making their predictions, the company earned 64 cents a diluted share. The numbers met the expectations of analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
. In the comparable quarter last year, the company reported earnings of $1.04 billion, or 72 cents a diluted share.
The company attributed the 11% decline in earnings to higher costs, including increased investments and a slight decline in gross margins.
Durk I. Jager, Procter & Gamble chairman, issued a new round of apologies and said the company is "committed to delivering the stronger earnings growth we are capable of."
Revenue totaled $9.78 billion, which the company said reflects a 7% unit volume growth over the comparable quarter last year, when revenue totaled $9.23 billion.
The company said it is "comfortable" with the analysts' current earnings estimates for the fourth-fiscal quarter, which predicts 5% to 7% volume sales growth.
said it has agreed to buy Procter & Gamble's
brand of soap for an undisclosed price.
Procter & Gamble shares fell 5, or 7%, to 65 1/2. Dial shares were flat at 14. (Procter & Gamble closed down 6 3/16, or 9%, at 64 5/16 while Dial closed down 1/8, at 14.)