Procter & Gamble ( PG) continued to crank out earnings in its March quarter, posting a 20% jump in profit as higher unit sales combined with currency benefits to cruise past estimates.

The consumer products giant earned $1.53 billion, or $1.09 a share, in the fiscal third quarter, up from $1.27 billion, or 91 cents a share, a year ago. Overall revenue rose 22% to $13.03 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of $1.08 a share on revenue of $12.56 billion in the latest quarter, according to Thomson First Call.

P&G said overall volume rose 20% in the most recent quarter from last year, while volume excluding operations bought and sold rose 12%. The company said 19 of its top 20 brands saw higher volume in the 2004 quarter.

Five percentage points of the company's year-over-year sales increase was attributable to currency translation, P&G said. Gross margin, meanwhile, swelled by 150 basis points year over year, with 40 basis points of the increase related to a year-ago restructuring expense. The balance of the improvement was driven by "the scale benefit of volume."

For the current quarter, P&G sees volume growth excluding acquisitions and divestitures rising 10% from a year ago, while operating margin will shrink by 75 to 125 basis points because of the acquisition of German shampoo company Wella. P&G said it's comfortable with existing estimates, which are earnings of 96 cents a share on revenue of $12.59 billion, according to Thomson First Call.

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