(By Balachander) Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE:EL) shares gained 5.44 percent in premarket trading after the maker of skin care and fragrance products posted better-than-expected quarterly results on strong growth in China and travel retail. However, EL guided first quarter and the full year earnings below Wall Street consensus.
Excluding charges, quarterly earnings per share (EPS) jumped 42 percent to 17 cents from 12 cents, beating market expectations by a penny. Net earnings grew 25 percent to $51.2 million.
Net sales rose 9 percent to $2.25 billion, topping consensus estimates of a growth of 7.30 percent. Excluding currency impact, net sales rose 12 percent. The company said sales grew strongly mainly in travel retail and emerging markets, along with solid gains in several developed countries.
Gross margin improved to 80.4 percent from 79.4 percent for the fourth quarter ended June 30.
Looking ahead for the first quarter, EL sees EPS, before charges, between 71 cents and 77 cents, trailing Wall Street projections of 78 cents. It forecasts net sales growth between 5 percent and 7 percent in constant currency.
For the full year, the company now expects EPS, before charges, in the range of $2.44 to $2.56 on net sales growth of 6 percent and 8 percent. Analysts expect earnings of $2.57 per share on sales of $10.25 billion for the year ending June 2013.
EL shares, which have been trading between $40.76 and $65.60 over the past year, closed Monday's regular trading at $55.01.