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Colgate-Palmolive Makes a Deal, Reaffirms Guidance

The toothpaste leader will acquire Switzerland's GABA to boost its European business.
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Thursday said it is acquiring a Swiss oral care company and reconfirmed its fourth-quarter and full-year 2003 profit forecast.

The consumer products company will acquire privately owned GABA Holding in an all-cash deal valued at $630 million to $830 million, "depending on the number of shares acquired and subject to a purchase price adjustment."

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GABA has sales of almost $300 million in 15 European countries, which will strengthen Colgate-Palmolive's European business.

The New York-based company also repeated that it expects earnings for the fourth quarter and full year 2003 will meet analysts' expectations, partly because of the weaker dollar. The consensus estimates for the respective periods are 64 cents and $2.45 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

In the third quarter, the company posted earnings of $365.4 million, or 63 cents a share, up from $330.7 million, or 57 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Total sales increased 0.6% to $2.52 billion, slightly ahead of analysts' consensus.

Colgate-Palmolive shares rose 72 cents to $53.88 Wednesday.