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Newell Rubbermaid Swings to Profit

The company cites sales of its Calphalon and Sharpie brands.

Newell Rubbermaid

(NWL) - Get Report

swung to a first-quarter profit, helped by sales of its Calphalon and Sharpie brands.

The Atlanta-based company earned $16 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of $464 million, or $1.73 a share, in the prior-year period. Last year's first-quarter earnings included charges associated with an accounting change and a goodwill writedown of $514.9 million, or $1.93 a share.

Excluding restructuring and acquisition charges, the company earned $73.5 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $63.9 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts expected 27 cents a share.

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Sales were $1.74 billion, up 8.7%.

"We continue to build momentum in new-product development and marketing initiatives, and acquisition integration is ahead of plan for our Lenox and Irwin hand tools and power-tool accessories businesses," said Joseph Galli, Newell Rubbermaid's chief executive.

The company reiterated that it expects full-year 2003 internal sales growth of 2% to 4% and earnings of $1.77 to $1.87 a share, excluding restructuring charges. For the second quarter, the company expects earnings of 40 cents to 44 cents per share, excluding charges.

Analysts expect $1.81 a share, on average, for 2003 and 44 cents a share for the second quarter. The company earned $1.58 a share in 2002 and 39 cents a share in the second quarter of that year.

Shares of the company were down 3% at $29.96 in Tuesday afternoon trading.