Procter & Gamble's profit jumps

/ Source: The Associated Press

Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. said Friday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 19 percent on sales growth and improved margins.

The company behind brands like Gillette razors and Tide detergent also confirmed its earnings-per-share guidance for fiscal 2008 and said its board authorized the repurchase of $24 billion to $30 billion in stock over the next three years.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30 rose to $2.27 billion, or 67 cents per share, from $1.9 billion, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 8 percent to $19.27 billion from $17.84 billion, led by double-digit increases in blades and razors, fabric and home care, and health care. Sales from businesses it has owned for more than a year rose 5 percent, while foreign exchange contributed 3 percent to sales growth.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast a quarterly profit of 66 cents per share on sales of $19.11 billion.

Procter & Gamble, which also makes products such as Pampers diapers and Pringles chips, said its integration of the Gillette business is moving ahead of schedule.