Consumer Products

Did Investors Expect Too Much From Clorox Earnings?

Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Monday. The firm said that it had $2.41 in earnings per share (EPS) and $1.98 billion in revenue, which exceeds consensus estimates that called for $1.99 in EPS and revenue of $1.87 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.88 on $1.63 billion in revenue.

During the most recent quarter, sales increased 22%, driven by double-digit volume growth in all reportable segments due to COVID-19 and consumers spending more time at home. Organic sales were up 24% for the quarter.

In terms of its segments, Clorox reported as follows:

  • Health and Wellness sales increased 33% year over year to $805 million. Growth was fueled by a broad-based increase in demand for disinfecting and cleaning products across the Cleaning and Professional Products portfolios related to COVID-19.
  • Household sales increased by 17% to $612 million. This growth was driven mainly by double-digit growth in Bags and Wraps and Grilling, which both benefited from much stronger consumer demand, supported by innovation.
  • Lifestyle sales increased by 16% to $298 million. Segment sales grew from double-digit increases in the Food and Water Filtration businesses, driven by higher consumer demand.
  • International sales increased 12% to $268 million. Again, strong demand in cleaning and disinfecting products drove the growth here.

On the books, cash and cash equivalents totaled $871 million at the end of the quarter, up from $111 million at the end of the same period last year.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2021, the company expects to see a “flat to low single-digit increase in sales” and “mid-single-digit decrease to mid-single-digit increase” in EPS. Consensus estimates call for $7.33 in EPS and $6.79 billion in revenue for the year.

The company also announced that it would be promoting Linda Rendle to the position of chief executive officer, effective September 14, replacing Benno Dorer. Note that Dorer will continue serving as the executive chair of the board of directors.

Clorox stock traded down about 2.5% Monday morning to $230.40, in a 52-week range of $144.12 to $238.00. The consensus price target is $204.17.