Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble
Total sales grew 6% to $11.01 billion. Unit volume increased at a faster clip, tacking on 8% growth. That reflects some pricing pressure in some of P&G's brands, which is not surprising given the ever-vicious Diaper War with rival Kimberly-Clark
(As a small aside, did you know diapers are called "nappies" in Britain? How much cooler does the Nappy War sound than the Diaper War? It's Pampers nappies versus Huggies nappies in an all-out nappy brawl, y'all!)
P&G earned $1.49 billion during the quarter, or $1.06 a share, ahead of last year by 15%. In the previous quarter, the Dow component earned $1.3 billion, or $0.93. Stripping out restructuring charges, P&G's core earnings were $1.13 per share compared to last year's $1.03.
On the free cash flow front, P&G is well on its way to beating fiscal 2002's $6.29 billion. Through the first six months of the current year, it's generated $3.71 billion of free cash flow, 48% ahead of what it banked during last year's first half. The company's cost-cutting and restructuring program is definitely fattening its pockets.
Looking ahead, P&G sees the love continuing for it. Customers will keep lathering up with Herbal Essences shampoo (despite those bizarre commercials), chowing down on Pringles chips, splashing on some Giorgio Beverly Hills perfume, and brushing with Crest. All this will result in a unit volume rise for the third quarter between 6% to 8% and a sales increase in the mid-single digits. Core earnings should improve 11% to 13%.
Investors looking for a stable company with a cupboard full of everyday products should give P&G a thorough once-over. (To read more about P&G, check out this recent Drip column written by our beloved Rex Moore.)