Kimberly-Clark Raises Full-Year Profit Forecast

Kimberly-Clark Corp. jumped the most in more than three years after the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers boosted its annual earnings forecast amid sales growth in its North American tissues unit.

The shares rose 4.7 percent to $106.10 at the close in New York for the biggest one-day gain since October 2009. Kimberly-Clark has advanced 26 percent this year, compared with an 9 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s Index.

Profit this year will be $5.60 to $5.75 per share, up from a prior forecast of $5.50 to $5.65, the Dallas-based company said in a statement. Analysts had estimated $5.59 a share on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kimberly-Clark, which in October said it would exit most of its diaper business in Western and Central Europe as it cuts expenses, reported a 3 percent rise in organic sales volume in the first quarter. The advance was aided by a sales increase in its North American consumer-tissue and K.C. International units, the company said. The rise excluded the effect of foreign-currency changes and lost sales from the European strategic changes, the company said.

“The first-quarter results reflect the benefit of the stronger flu season, healthy cost savings, and very modest inflation,” Connie Maneaty, a BMO Capital Markets analyst, wrote in a investor note today. She rates the shares underperform, the equivalent of a sell.

Flu Season

Kimberly-Clark’s first-quarter profit, excluding some items, rose to a record $1.48 a share, from $1.24 a year earlier. Analysts had projected $1.34 on average.

Revenue rose 1.5 percent to $5.32 billion, the company said. Analysts had estimated $5.27 billion. Net income climbed about 13 percent to $531 million, or $1.36 a share, from $468 million, or $1.18.

Organic sales during the period included a 6 percent increase in North American consumer tissue and 5 percent advance in K-C International, the company said.

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