Categories Consumer, Earnings, Markets

Kimberly-Clark stock drops on Q4 earnings miss, weak guidance

Kimberly-Clark (KMB), a leading manufacturer of personal care products, Wednesday reported weaker than expected earnings for the fourth quarter, reflecting a decline in sales. The unimpressive bottom line performance and the dismal outlook for the current fiscal year triggered a selloff and the company’s stock dropped about 4% in early trading.

Kimberly-Clark Q4 Adj. Earnings Rise
Kimberly-Clark Q4 2018 Earnings Infographic

Adjusted earnings moved up to $1.60 per share during the three-month period from $1.57 per share a year earlier, but missed analysts’ forecast. Meanwhile, unadjusted earnings decreased sharply to $1.18 per share from $1.75 per share in the fourth quarter of 2017.

During the December-quarter, net sales dropped 1% annually to $4.6 billion, hurt mainly by a 2% decline in the personal care segment that more than offset a 2% growth in the sales of K-C Professional products. The top line, which was also impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange rates, topped the estimates. Meanwhile, there was a 3% increase in organic sales during the quarter, supported by an improvement in net selling prices.

There was a 3% increase in organic sales during the quarter, supported by an improvement in net selling prices

Kimberly-Clark’s board of directors approved a 3% increase in quarterly dividend for fiscal 2019, marking the 47th hike in a row. During the quarter, the management repurchased 1.8 million shares for about $199 million.

“We expect the environment in 2019 will remain challenging, although somewhat better than in 2018. In this environment, our teams will continue to execute our strategies for long-term success. We are targeting to deliver a solid operating plan, with higher organic sales growth compared to 2018 and improved margins despite expectations for significant headwinds from commodities and currencies,” said CEO Mike Hsu.

Kimberly-Clark stock rises on upbeat Q3 results

The management is expecting a 1-2% decline in net sales and a 2% increase in organic sales in fiscal 2019. Full-year adjusted earnings are estimated o be in the range of $6.50 per share to $6.70 per share. Operating profit, on an adjusted basis, is forecast to grow between 1% and 4%. During the year, the adjusted effective tax rate is seen increasing to 23-25%. The outlook, however, fell short of market expectations.

Kimberly-Clark’s stock dropped about 2% in premarket trading Wednesday following the earnings report, after closing the previous session lower.


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