(By Balaseshan) Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as volume growth drove increase in revenue and margins expanded and the maker of personal care products revised 2013 profit view at the high-end of previous forecast.
Earnings grew to $80.8 million or $0.57 per share for the fourth quarter from $63.8 million or $0.44 per share in the year-ago quarter. Excluding the tax valuation allowance in 2011, earnings per share increased to $0.57 from $0.53.
Net sales rose 10.8 percent to $809.7 million and organic sales gained 4.4 percent helped by 4.3 percent volume growth and the 0.1 percent positive effect of price.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of $0.57 per share on sales growth of 10.10 percent to $805.08 million.
Gross margin expanded 100 basis points to 44.3 percent mainly because of a cat litter price increase, sales growth of higher margin personal care business and a reduction in trade spending, among others.
The company's brands include ARM & HAMMER, TROJAN Condoms, XTRA laundry detergent, OXICLEAN pre-wash laundry additive, FIRST RESPONSE home pregnancy and ovulation test kits, ORAJEL oral analgesics and SPINBRUSH battery-operated toothbrushes.
Sales at the company's Consumer Domestic unit rose 17.3 percent, Consumer International segment went down 6.0 percent, while Specialty Products revenue declined 3.8 percent.
Looking ahead for the first quarter, Church & Dwight sees earnings per share to increase about 8 percent from last year, while analysts expect 10.60 percent growth.
For the full year 2013, the company now expects earnings per share of $2.79, which is the upper end of prior view of $2.74 to $2.79, while analysts expect $2.79. Organic net sales growth is expected to be 3 percent to 4 percent.
On January 30, the company's board of directors raised its quarterly dividend by 17 percent to $0.28 per share. The dividend will be payable March 1 to stockholders of record at the close of business on February 15.
CHD ended Monday's regular session down 0.15 percent at $58.40. The stock has been trading in the 52-week range between $45.08 and $59.27.