Newell Rubbermaid Inc. said Wednesday that cost-control efforts and its decision to stop making some of its less-profitable products helped push its third-quarter profit higher even as sales declined.
The consumer-products company also lifted its full-year earnings outlook, with the high end topping analysts' estimates by 4 cents per share.
Newell Rubbermaid, which makes storage containers, Sharpie pens and Calphalon cookware, earned $85.5 million, or 28 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's up 54 percent from $55.6 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding restructuring costs and other items, profit was 38 cents per share.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates normally exclude one-time items, predicted earnings of 35 cents per share.
Newell Rubbermaid made a significant cut to costs in the quarter, lowering its selling, general and administrative expenses to $350.3 million from $394.3 million.
Sales slipped 18 percent, to $1.45 billion from $1.76 billion last year, missing Wall Street's estimate of $1.47 billion. Planned product exits lowered sales results by 6 percent, while the strengthening dollar pulled it down 2 percent.
Newell Rubbermaid said it now expects a profit in 2009 of $1.27 to $1.32 per share, while analysts expect a profit of $1.28 per share. In July, the Atlanta company had projected earnings of $1.15 to $1.30 per share. It still expects a sales decline of 10 percent to 15 percent.
For the fourth quarter, Newell Rubbermaid predicts a profit of 23 cents to 28 cents per share, with sales down 2 percent to 4 percent. Analysts expect a profit of 27 cents per share.