H1N1 Helps Clorox 1Q Profit Rise 23 Percent

Mon, 11/02/2009 - 4:03am

BETSY VERECKEY AP Business Writer — November 2, 2009

CHICAGO (AP) — The Clorox Co. said Monday profit rose 23 percent in its fiscal first quarter, as consumers paid higher prices and stocked up on disinfecting products because of worries about the flu.

Consumers stocking up on bleach and disinfectant wipes helped Clorox exceed its own earnings expectations.

The maker of Brita water filters and Glad bags says profit rose to $157 million, or $1.11 per share, compared with $128 million, or 90 cents per share, a year ago.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue declined less than 1 percent to $1.37 billion because of unfavorable exchange rates and weak demand for Glad trash bags. It also stopped making store-brand food bags.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 95 cents and sales of $1.34 billion.

The company also benefited from higher prices, especially overseas, which boosted gross margin. Consumers still paid premium prices for Clorox's products, even though many shoppers have been trading down to cheaper products to save money amid layoffs and tighter credit.

For full-year 2010, Clorox expects earnings between $4.05 per share and $4.20 and sales growth between 1 percent and 2 percent. The company previously forecast earnings per share between $4 and $4.15.

Clorox said its outlook is based on a weaker dollar that will offset increased costs for both marketing and commodities. U.S. companies that record business overseas benefit when the dollar weakens because revenue made in local currencies is converted into more dollars.

Analysts expect earnings per share of $4.18 and sales of $5.57 billion.


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