NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Consumer products titan Procter & Gamble Co. reported an 18 percent drop in fiscal third-quarter operating earnings Tuesday, after warning Wall Street last month that profits would be sharply lower than last year's, but the results met analysts' lowered expectations.|
P&G shares were battered last month after the company disclosed it was slashing quarterly earnings projections because of higher raw materials costs and increased competition for many of its products. The Dow industrials stock, already down about 45 percent from its 52-week high, lost another 4-15/16, or 7 percent, to 65-9/16 Tuesday afternoon, as investors continued to fret about the company's outlook.
The Cincinnati-based maker of Tide detergent and Pringles potato chips posted core profits of $923 million, or 64 cents per diluted share, for the January to March quarter, excluding a $170 million extraordinary charge for restructuring efforts.
That was down from $1.12 billion, or 71 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier period.
However, the results matched the First Call consensus estimate of analysts, who had readjusted their forecasts downward.
When the extraordinary charges were included, P&G earned $753 million, or 52 cents per diluted share, down 28 percent from $963 million, or 67 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue rose 6 percent to $9.78 billion despite negative exchange rates, primarily with the euro, which reduced sales by about 2 percent. Much of the sales growth came from the company's fabric and home care division, which benefited from a surge in sales in Latin America.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the company earned $3.03 billion, or $2.10 per diluted share, from $3.3 billion, or $2.30 per share, in the prior period. Sales rose 6 percent to $30.3 billion for the nine months.
Procter & Gamble also said it is "comfortable" with analysts' fourth-quarter earnings estimates. The company is expected to earn 64 cents per share in the April to June period, from 55 cents a year earlier, according to the First Call consensus projection.