Procter & Gamble
raised its sales and earnings expectations for the September quarter, saying product volume has been strong. The company also said it was comfortable with Wall Street's consensus estimate for fiscal 2004.
The company expects earnings for the fiscal first quarter to grow around 19% to 21% from $1.04 a share in the same period last year. Excluding charges of 8 cents a share, quarterly earnings should increase 11% to 13% from last year's core earnings of $1.12.
P&G's forecast implies a profit of $1.24 to $1.26 a share and core earnings of $1.24 to $1.27. Core earnings exclude charges from the company's restructuring program.
P&G also said the acquisition of Wella AG will probably be neutral to earnings in both the quarter and fiscal-year 2004. The company still believes the Wella acquisition will add to earnings in the second year of the merger.
First-quarter organic sales will likely climb 9% to 11%, P&G said. Excluding foreign exchange, organic sales growth is expected to finish the quarter in the upper-single-digit range.
The company said the strong start to the first quarter "adds confidence that it can deliver another fiscal year of double-digit earnings-per-share growth." Additionally, P&G left its volume and sales growth outlook for fiscal 2004 unchanged from its previous guidance.
Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expect first-quarter earnings of $1.23 a share and a full-year profit of $4.50 a share.
Shares of P&G were gaining $1.45, or 1.6%, to $90.25 on the
New York Stock Exchange