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Kimberly-Clark (KMB) Earnings Top; Stock Falls as Sales Lag

Consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark Corporation KMB posted mixed results in the first quarter of 2016, wherein earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate but revenues missed the same due to currency headwinds. Shares edged down about 1.3% in pre-market trading.

Adjusted earnings of $1.53 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.51 by 1.3% and increased 7.7% from the year-ago figure of $1.42 per share. Year over year, earnings were boosted by organic sales growth, cost savings, input cost deflation, margin improvements and lower tax rates. However, earnings were negatively impacted by unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate effects and increased marketing expenses.

 

Quarter in Detail

The company reported sales of $4.476 billion in the first quarter. Sales slightly missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.508 billion by 0.7% and also declined 4.6% from the prior-year quarter, mainly due to foreign currency headwinds. Currency reduced the quarter’s sales by 7%.

Excluding the aforementioned headwinds, organic sales grew 2% from the prior-year quarter, mainly driven by volumes. Organic sales grew 5% in developing and emerging markets.

Adjusted operating profit in the first quarter of 2016 (excluding organization restructuring costs) grew 0.4% to $818 million. It was mainly driven by organic sales growth, $95 million of cost savings from the FORCE (Focused On Reducing Costs Everywhere) program and $15 million of savings from the organization restructuring announced in 2014. Input costs also decreased $30 million in the quarter. However, this was offset by unfavorable currencies, which reduced adjusted operating profit by $50 million. Higher administrative and selling costs also negatively impacted operating profits.

Segment Details

Personal Care Products: The segment includes products like disposable diapers, training/ youth/swim pants; baby wipes; feminine and incontinence care products.

Sales decreased 4% on a year-over-year basis to $2.2 billion in the quarter due to unfavorable currency impact. However, volumes increased 3% and product mix gained 1% in the quarter. Sales improved in North America but declined in developed markets outside North America and developing and emerging markets.

Segment operating profit also declined 1% to $449 million in the quarter due to unfavorable currency rates and increased marketing, research and general spending, offset by organic sales growth, cost savings and lower input costs.

Consumer Tissue: The segment includes bathroom tissue, paper towels, napkins and related products for household use.

Segment sales declined 5% on a year-over-year basis to $1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2016 due to unfavorable currency and product mix, offsetting the gains from higher selling prices. Sales improved in North America but declined in developed markets outside North America and developing and emerging markets.

Unfavorable currency effects resulted in a decline of 4% in segment operating profit to $280 million, which overshadowed gains from cost savings.

K-C Professional (KCP) & Other: The segment consists of facial and bathroom tissue, paper towels, napkins, wipers and a range of safety products.

Segment sales declined 4% to $0.8 billion in the first quarter due to unfavorable currencies and product mix, which offset the impact of higher selling prices and improved volumes. Sales improved in North America but declined in developed markets outside North America and developing and emerging markets.

However, segment operating profit increased 12% to $150 million driven by organic sales growth and cost savings, partially offset by unfavorable currency effects.

Organization Restructuring

In Oct 2014, the company initiated a restructuring program in order to improve organization efficiency, improve its underlying profitability, increase the company's flexibility to invest in targeted growth initiatives and offset overhead costs stemming from the spin-off of the company's health care business.

The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with total costs anticipated to be toward the high end of the previously announced range of $130 million to $160 million after tax. Cumulative pre-tax savings from the restructuring are expected to be toward the high end of the previously communicated range of $120 to $140 million by the end of 2017.

During the first quarter of 2016, restructuring costs were $10 million after tax while savings amounted to $15 million.

Guidance for 2016

For 2016, the company continues to expect adjusted earnings per share in the range of $5.95 to $6.15, up 3% to 7% from adjusted earnings of $5.76 in 2015.

Organic sales are expected to grow in the range of 3% to 5%, lower than 5% in 2015. The impact of foreign currency exchange on net sales and operating profit are expected to be toward the low end of the previously assumed range of 5% to 6%.

The company continues to expect full-year 2016 adjusted effective tax rate between 30.5% and 32.5%.

Kimberly-Clark has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other well-positioned stocks in the consumer staples sector include WD-40 Company WDFC, Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings, Inc. OLLI and Tupperware Brands Corporation TUP. All of them hold the same rank as Kimberly-Clark.

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