Kimberly-Clark Delivers an Earnings Dud

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Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) is supposed to be a company immune to problems of the world. After all, consumer products are needed whether times are good or times are bad. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

The consumer products giant reported that its second quarter earnings fell by 3% on a very slight revenue gain. Higher product costs as well as spin-off charges were drags on the report, and the impact is dragging on Kimberly-Clark shares.

The second-quarter earnings report from Kimberly-Clark was a profit of $509 million, or $1.35 earnings per share (EPS). This is down marginally from the $526 million or $1.36 per share a year ago. If you back out all the items for an adjusted operating earnings per share, well that number magically grew to $1.49 EPS from $1.41 a year ago. Thomson Reuters was calling for $1.50 per share.

Kimberly-Clark revenue rose by just over 1% to $5.3 billion. Its organic sales were represented as being up 5% if you back out foreign exchange and other unusual items. Thomson Reuters was calling for $5.33 billion in revenue.

Guidance is also a problem. The company narrowed its guidance, which is to the lower end of the expected range adjusted earnings were put between $6.00 to $6.15 in EPS versus $6.12 expected from Thomson Reuters. The company claims to be on track and optimistic to generate attractive shareholder returns.

The coming spin-off Halyard Health is now expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter. Other restructuring charges will come to $300 million to $350 million. Third-quarter cash from operations was $842 million (versus a $576 million a year ago) and second-quarter share repurchases were 4.3 million shares at a cost of $476 million.

Kimberly-Clark shares closed down 0.8% at $112.31 on Monday, against a 52-week range of $91.44 to $114.45, and shares were indicated down around $110.75 in early indications on Tuesday morning.

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