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K-C delivers outstanding Q3 results in challenging environment
Oct '09
Kimberly-Clark Corporation reported that net sales in the third quarter of 2009 decreased 1.7 percent to $4.9 billion, as the effect of weaker foreign currency exchange rates more than offset organic sales growth of about 3 percent.

The growth in organic sales was driven by higher net selling prices, which increased approximately 3 percent, while overall sales volumes were essentially even with year-ago levels.Sales volumes continue to reflect challenging economic conditions, particularly affecting the company's K-C Professional and Consumer Tissue businesses in North America and Europe, along with the company's focus on improving net realized revenue. Meanwhile, sales volumes rose approximately 18 percent for K-C's global Health Care business and about 3 percent for the company's operations in developing and emerging markets.

Diluted net income per share for the quarter was an all-time record $1.40 compared with $0.99 in 2008 and prior-year adjusted earnings of $1.02. During the quarter, the company delivered continued double-digit organic sales growth in developing and emerging markets, realized improved net selling prices in North America, generated strong sales and operating profit growth in Health Care, achieved significant cost savings and benefited from lower costs stemming from commodity cost deflation. These factors led to an increase in gross profit margin of nearly 600 basis points and growth in both operating profit and diluted net income per share in excess of 40 percent. The growth in earnings per share was achieved despite unfavorable currency effects of approximately 15 cents per share.

Adjusted earnings per share in the third quarter of 2008 exclude charges for strategic cost reductions. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Falk said, "We delivered outstanding third quarter results in a challenging environment, while maintaining a strong focus on doing what's right to sustain our long-term growth. Third quarter performance was highlighted by strong margin expansion in each of our four business segments, record earnings per share and excellent cash flow. We realized sizable benefits from improved net realized revenue, and our strategy of driving efficiency in every aspect of our operations led to another quarter of significant cost reductions as well as overhead efficiencies."

"At the same time, we continued to deliver on our targeted growth initiatives, with double-digit organic top-line growth in developing and emerging markets and excellent results in Health Care. In addition, we continued to support our brands with an increase in strategic marketing spending of about $50 million in local currency terms. We also improved our working capital position in the quarter, building further on the progress we made in the first half of the year. All-in-all, we continue to execute our business plans well and I'm really pleased that bottom-line results in the third quarter are spurring a significant increase in our outlook for the year."

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