Earns Proctor and Gamble (FILE - This Aug. 2, 2010, file photo, shows the Procter & Gamble Co. headquarters building in Cinc
Al Behrman/AP
By Jessica Wohl

Procter & Gamble is chugging along with its turnaround, posting a quarterly profit that met Wall Street's expectations and holding to its annual forecasts as the world's largest household products maker gets a lift from cost cuts and a lower tax rate.

Shares of P&G (PG) slipped 0.5 percent to $80.20 in premarket trading Friday.

The maker of Pampers diapers and Tide detergent is trying to reinvigorate itself under chief executive A.G. Lafley, who returned in late May to replace Bob McDonald.

Lafley, who isn't speaking on the company's conference call Friday, has previously said the current fiscal 2014 would be a "transition" year, after the "stepping stone" year that ended in June. He has already split P&G into four businesses, hoping the new structure will boost efficiency.

P&G said it still expected 5 percent to 7 percent growth in earnings per share this fiscal year, excluding restructuring charges. The company abandoned quarterly forecasts earlier this year.

It still expects organic sales, which strip out the impact of currency changes, acquisitions and divestitures, to rise 3 percent to 4 percent this fiscal year.

Shampoo Showdown

P&G held or increased market share in businesses that represent about two-thirds of its sales during the quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said. Still, the company has to execute better, more consistently and more reliably, he added.

P&G competes against a variety of companies, including Unilever (UN). On Thursday, Unilever's results suggested that its North American market share in the high-margin personal care business suffered because of promotions that P&G ran on its hair care products such as Pantene shampoo.

However, Moeller refuted such assertions, saying that P&G's hair care product promotions were down from a year earlier.
The company's market share in the category was flat.

"We see a different reality," Moeller told reporters. "Promotion is important, and we will be competitive in our promotional activities, but it is not an area where we seek to lead."

In North America overall, P&G's share of the volume of goods that were sold on promotions was down 7 percent from a year earlier, Moeller said.

P&G said it had earned $3.03 billion, or $1.04 a share, in the first quarter ended on Sept. 30, up from $2.81 billion, or 96 cents a share, a year earlier.

Core earnings per share, which exclude restructuring charges, fell 1 percent to $1.05 and met analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 2.2 percent to $21.21 billion, topping Wall Street forecast of $21.04 billion.

Organic sales rose 4 percent. Such sales were up in every category except health care, where they were flat, due in part to a pet food recall.

The beauty business was a disappointment, with organic sales growth of just 1 percent, analysts said. P&G blamed the sluggish growth on factors such as a decrease in skin care product sales.

JPMorgan (JPM) analyst John Faucher said he had expected 3 percent organic sales growth in the beauty division.


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