Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB)

Q2 2010 Earnings Conference Call

July 23, 2010 10:00 am ET


Paul Alexander - IR

Mark Buthman - SVP and CFO

Tom Falk - Chairman and CEO


Ali Dibadj - Sanford Bernstein

Bill Schmitz - Deutsche Bank

Chris Ferrara - Bank of America

Lauren Lieberman - Barclays Capital

Gail Glazerman - UBS

Alice Longley - Buckingham Research.

Wendy Nicholson - Citigroup

Andrew Sawyer - Goldman Sachs

Chip Dillon - Credit Suisse

Jason Gere - RBC Capital Markets

Connie Maneaty - BMO Capital Markets

Linda Bolton Weiser - Caris & Co.

Andy Feinman - Iridian Asset Management



Ladies and gentlemen thank you for your patience in holding. We now have your speakers in conference. Please be aware that each of your lines is in a listen-only mode. At the conclusion of the presentation, the floor will be open for your questions. At that time instructions will be given as the procedure to follow if you’d like to ask a question.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Mr. Paul Alexander. Mr. Alexander you may begin sir.

Paul Alexander

Thanks David and good morning everyone. Welcome to Kimberly-Clark Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. With us today are Tom Falk Chairman and CEO, Mark Buthman Senior VP and CFO, and Mike Azbell, Vice President and Controller.

Here’s the agenda for this morning's call. Mark will begin with a review of our second quarter results, and then Tom will provide his perspective on the results and discuss our 2010 outlook. Then we'll finish with Q&A. For those wishing to follow along, we have a presentation of today's materials in the investor section of our website, which is

Before we begin let me remind you, we’ll be making forward-looking statements during the call today. There can be no assurance that future events will occur as anticipated or that the company’s results will be as estimated. Please refer to the risk factor section of our latest annual report on Form 10-K for description of factors that could cause our future results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.

I’d also like to point out that we will be referring to our adjusted 2010 outlook that excludes the one time loss in the first quarter for the re-measurement of the local currency balance sheet in Venezuela as a result of the move to highly inflationary accounting.

Management believes that reporting in this manner enables investors to better understand and analyze our ongoing results of operations. For further information and reconciliations to comparable financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP, please see today's news release and additional information on our website.

Now, I’ll turn it over to Mark.

Mark Buthman

Thanks Paul and good morning. I hope you had a chance to review our news release the details of our results for the quarter. Let's start with few headlines. First, organic sales growth was 2% including continued strong results for K-C International. Second, operating margin improved to 170 basis points, leading to a 24% increase in earnings per share and third, we continue to be focused on driving those factors we control, delivering strong cost savings holding down working capital and increasing investments behind our brands.

Now, let's cover the details of the quarter starting with the top line. Overall, sales increased to about 3% to $4.9 billion including one point of growth from acquisitions. Organic sales rose 2% driven by higher net selling prices or sales volumes were essentially even with prior year. Before I get into further details on the top line, I’d like to briefly touch on Venezuela.

Given recent limitations on the availability of foreign exchange, we are closely managing finished product imports and net realized revenue. Well this has an impacted bottom line results in a material way, it is influencing the components of our top line. In the second quarter, the overall impact from Venezuela and our total sales was roughly a point negative on sales volumes and one point positive on net selling prices. These impacts were more significant than our previous expectations.

Going forward, in the near term we are assuming a continued challenging environment and so Venezuela is a factor that’s contributing to our updated organic growth assumptions which are included in our news release.

Now, let me turn to the top line for each of our segments. I’ll focus my comments on organic sales, setting aside the impacts of currency and acquisitions. Personal care, organic sales increased approximately 4%. Sales volumes were up more than 2% and higher net selling prices contributed an additional point of growth. North America organic sales increased about 6%, sales volumes were up 3% and higher net selling prices driven by a lower level of promotional activity on Huggies diapers contributed two points of growth.

Improved product mix generated an additional point of growth. Feminine care volumes increased double digits for the second consecutive quarter as a result of the U by Kotex innovation.

Adult care volumes were also up double digits with benefits from recent innovations and supporting marketing campaigns. Huggies diaper volumes were down slightly in the quarter. In the Europe personal care organic sales were down 3%, sales volumes were down 1% compared to a double digit increase last year, while product mix and net selling prices were each down slightly.

For K-C International personal care’s organic sales rose about 6%. Sales volumes were up 5%, with strong volume growth in a number of markets including Australia, China and throughout most of Latin America. Overall net selling prices advance 1% has increases in Venezuela were mostly offset by modest declines elsewhere.

Turning to consumer tissue, organic sales were down about 2%, higher net selling prices of 2% and one point of improved product mix were more than offset by lower volumes of 5%.

North America organic sales were off approximately 5% and selling prices increased 2%, mostly from sheet count reductions and Cottonelle bath tissue in the first quarter to improve net realized revenue. Product mix was also up two points in the quarter. Sales volumes declined 9% were impacted by the sheet count reductions at Cottonelle, consumer trade down in paper towels and competitive promotional activity.

Expect better volume performance in the back half of the year, taking into account the timing of marketing and promotional activity and the fact that the volume impact of count reduction should fade over time.

Switching to Europe, consumer tissue organic sales were down about 3% in a continued difficult environment. Sales volumes were down 2% and product mix was off an additional point. For K-C International, consumer tissue organic sales have increased more than 4%, driven by higher net selling prices.

Shifting to K-C Professional and other, organic sales were up nearly 5% and selling prices rose 4% mostly in North America in K-C International and mix was up slightly. Organic sales volumes were similar to year ago. High end employment and office vacancy rates continue to impact the North American washroom category. On the other hand, volumes continue to advance in high margin wipers and throughout K-C International.

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