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Flu medicines boost P&G's profit

Procter & Gamble Co., the largest U.S. consumer products company, on Wednesday said quarterly profit rose 22 percent, boosted by the acquisition of the Wella hair-care business and strong sales of over-the-counter flu medications.
/ Source: Reuters

Procter & Gamble Co., the largest U.S. consumer products company, on Wednesday said quarterly profit rose 22 percent, boosted by the acquisition of the Wella hair-care business and strong sales of over-the-counter flu medications.

But P&G also said analysts' average earnings forecast for the current quarter — $1.06 per share — is at the high end of the company's own expectations.

The maker of Tide laundry detergent, Pampers diapers and the cold and flu treatment Vicks NyQuil posted profit of $1.82 billion, or $1.30 a share, for the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31. A year earlier, it reported net income of $1.49 billion, or $1.06 a share.

Analysts on average had forecast $1.29 a share, according to Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc.

Sales rose 20 percent to $13.22 billion. Analysts on average had expected $12.81 billion, according to Reuters Research. The dollar's weakness against European currencies and the Canadian dollar added 4 percent to sales growth,

P&G has ridden a wave of acquisitions in the health-care and hair-care businesses, as well as a streamlined organization, to post some of the best earnings growth in the consumer products sector in recent quarters.

New products, including the over-the-counter heartburn medication Prilosec, also helped drive 19 percent volume growth. Even without acquisitions and divestitures, volume, which factors out currency and price fluctuations, rose 9 percent.