China Baby Formula Woes Lead Mead Johnson to Cut Forecast

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A slowing Chinese economy forced infant formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. to cut its 2015 sales and profit forecast, saying that demand for locally made products was lackluster. The shares fell in late trading.

Sales will grow no more than 2 percent this year, down from the 7 percent previously forecast by the company. Earnings, excluding one-time items, will be $3.63 to $3.78 a share, compared with the $3.90 to $4 a share projected in April, the company said in a statement.

Mead Johnson shares fell 4.8 percent to $83.90 at 5:57 p.m. in late New York trading.

“Our line of fully imported products, launched in China during the quarter, contributed strongly to sales, even as we failed to entirely offset the slowdown in locally manufactured product,” Chief Executive Officer Kasper Jakobsen said in a statement.

Mead Johnson, based in Glenview, Illinois, got 31 percent of its sales from China last year, compared with 24 percent from the U.S. Last month, Jakobsen told an investor conference that a slowing Chinese economy was causing disruption in the market, leading some companies to cut prices. He called 2015 a year of transition in the country.

The company plans to report second-quarter results on July 23.

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