Procter & Gamble profit up on higher sales

/ Source: The Associated Press

Procter & Gamble Co. said net income rose 14 percent in the first quarter on solid sales growth in all the company's markets.

Net income for the quarter grew to $2 billion, or 73 cents per share, up from $1.76 billion, or 63 cents a share, as sales rose to $13.74 billion, and increase of 13 percent, including 3 percent from favorable foreign exchange. Sales totaled $12.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to report earnings of 72 cents per share on sales of $13.64 billion.

P&G said unit volume grew 12 percent, led by growth of more than 20 percent in developing markets. Developed market volume rose by mid-single digits, the company said, while organic volume, which excludes acquisitions and divestitures, increased eight percent. P&G said sales excluding acquisitions and divestitures were up 6 percent from a year ago.

For the fiscal 2005 second quarter and fiscal year, P&G said it is comfortable with the current range of analysts' earnings per share estimates "despite an environment of increasing costs." The company expects quarterly sales to increase by 5 to 7 percent, with a slightly positive effect from foreign exchange. Full-year sales are expected to increase towards the upper end of the company's long-term target range of 4 to 6 percent, excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

Analysts are expecting P&G to post second-quarter earnings of 72 cents per share on revenue of $13.97 billion. Sales for all of fiscal 2005 are estimated at $54.88 billion, and per-share profit is forecast at $2.59. The company posted sales of $51.4 billion in fiscal 2004 and net income of $2.32 per share.