updated 1/27/2006 8:38:29 AM ET 2006-01-27T13:38:29

Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest consumer products company, on Friday said fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 29 percent, driven by growth in most businesses and the October acquisition of razor and battery maker Gillette.

The better-than-expected earnings results allowed the maker of Tide detergent, Gillette razors and Duracell batteries to raise its full-year outlook.

Earnings increased to $2.55 billion in the October-December period from $1.98 billion a year ago. Per-share profit was steady at 72 cents, as the number of shares outstanding increased to 3.55 billion from 2.75 billion.

Sales grew 27 percent to $18.34 billion from $14.45 billion. Excluding acquisitions, divestitures and currency fluctuations, sales were up 8 percent, P&G said.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of 69 cents per share and sales of $18.23 billion.

P&G said volume increased 27 percent over the prior year but, excluding Gillette business and other acquisitions and divestitures, volume rose a more modest 6 percent. Every business group except snacks and coffee — which was hurt by Hurricane Katrina — generated mid-single digit volume growth or higher. Health care products delivered the highest percentage growth at 31 percent, boosted by sales of Gillette oral care products.

For the March quarter, P&G projects earnings of 58 cents to 61 cents, compared with analysts’ mean estimate of 60 cents.

P&G expects full-year earnings in a range of $2.58 to $2.62 from a previous forecast of $2.54 to $2.60. The forecast includes 19 cents to 23 cents in acquisition-related expenses. Analysts forecast earnings of $2.59 per share, including acquisition costs.

P&G’s brands also include Pantene shampoo, Crest toothpaste and Iams pet food. P&G closed its acquisition of Gillette in October 2005.

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