posted first-quarter earnings that easily beat analyst estimates.
Net earnings for this quarter were $120.5 million, or $1.77 a share, compared to $120.4 million, or $1.60 a share, a year ago. Current-quarter numbers included a post tax restructuring charge of $3.1 million, or 5 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were estimating $1.61 a share.
Revenue for the first quarter was little changed at $882.4 million, lower than the consensus estimate of $888.91 million.
Growth in sales in both battery segments was partially offset by a drop in sales at the Razors and Blades segment. Segment profit increased marginally by 3% to $220.2 million as improvements in the Razors and Blades segment were partially offset by a drop in profits in the North America Battery segment. A $10.1 million rise in interest and other financing costs negated savings in advertisement and promotional expenses and corporate expenses.
Net sales in the North America Battery Division rose in the first quarter of 2005 by 2% to $395.8 million. Unfavorable pricing and product mix affected sales growth despite higher volumes. Sales grew at 4% to $270.5 million in the International Battery Division. Revenue growth declined by 4% at the Razor and Blades division with currency fluctuation contributing to the drop.
The company repurchased 4.1 million shares of its common stock during the quarter which boosted its earnings.
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