Kimberly-Clark 4Q Profit Falls 8 Percent

Irving-based Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit fell 8 percent as the dollar grew stronger and consumers spent less in the face of varied economic woes.

The company, which also makes Pull-Ups and Depends products, earned $419 million, or $1.01 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared to the $456 million, or $1.07 per share, it earned last year. Sales slipped 3 percent to $4.6 billion from $4.76 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected the company to earn $1.03 per share and post sales of $4.66 billion. These estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Chief Executive Thomas Falk told investors that Kimberly-Clark Corp. had done worse than expected in North America and Europe. The company may cut prices on certain items, he said in a statement.

"We are fine tuning our pricing and promotional plans to ensure we remain competitive, particularly in diapers and training pants in North America," Falk said in a statement.

As the dollar's value grows in comparison to other currencies, sales revenue from outside the U.S. shrinks when it is converted back into dollars.

Organic sales growth in 2009 is expected in the low single digits with adjusted earnings per share of $4 to $4.20. Analysts expect $4.55 in earnings per share for the year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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