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MANUFACTURING Procter & amp; Gamble's earnings up 12 percent



Published: Fri, January 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Strong sales push the quarter to beat Wall Street forecast.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Procter & amp; Gamble Co.'s earnings increased 12 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, narrowly beating Wall Street's forecast, as the consumer products company benefited from strong sales of beauty care, household, and baby and family products.

The company also raised its earnings projections for the current fiscal year.

Cincinnati-based P & amp;G reported Thursday that net income was $2.04 billion, or 74 cents per share, exceeding the 72-cent forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Global sales for the manufacturer of Tide detergent, Pringles chips, Folgers coffee and Clairol hair care products totaled $14.45 billion, a 7 percent increase.

A year ago, P & amp;G earned $1.8 billion, or 65 cents per share, on worldwide sales of $13.2 billion.

For the first six months of P & amp;G's fiscal year, the company earned $4 billion -- or $1.47 per share -- on sales of $28.2 billion. A year earlier, P & amp;G earned $3.6 billion, or $1.28 per share, on sales of $25.4 billion.

Management said Thursday that it now expects earnings per share of $2.61 to $2.64 for the fiscal year that will end June 30, 3 cents above P & amp;G's previous earnings guidance. Net sales for the fiscal year are expected to increase by high single digits, P & amp;G officials said.

For the company's third fiscal quarter, ending March 31, P & amp;G said it expects earnings per share of 60 cents to 62 cents and a sales increase in the high single digits.

Meeting with analysts

P & amp;G officials had planned to release the earnings results Friday, but decided to push up the release to Thursday afternoon to allow top executives to meet with industry analysts Friday morning in New York.

Analysts have said P & amp;G and its competitors are under pressure from rising commodity prices and the expense of increased promotional spending to meet competition. P & amp;G has made progress in developing new products for the market and in cutting costs to offset the higher prices of materials, said A.G. Lafley, the company's president, chief executive and chairman.




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