Stronger blade and razor sales helped The Gillette Co. boost its second-quarter profit by 15 percent compared with a year ago, topping analysts' estimates.
The Boston, MA, U.S.-based maker of personal care products and batteries reported profits of U.S. $338 million, or $0.33 per share, for the April-June period, compared with $293 million, or $0.28 per share a year ago. Last year's figures included an after-tax gain of $21 million, or $0.02 per share.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting profits of $0.29 per share for the latest 3-month period.
Sales rose 11 percent from $2.02 billion to $2.25 billion, but the company attributed 6 percent of that gain to favorable European exchange rates.
Blade and razor sales rose 14 percent to $1.0 billion, with profit in that division up 17 percent to $377 million. Sales of Duracell batteries were up just 1 percent to $432 million, but the company still posted $54 million in profit, 20-percent higher than a year ago.
Operating profits were up 12 percent, from $449 million to $505 million.
For the first 6 months of the year, Gillette reported profits of $601 million, or $0.58 per share, up 16 percent from $516 million, or $0.49 per share, in the first half of 2002.
Revenue rose to $4.23 billion from $3.76 billion a year ago.
Gillette is trying to defend market share ahead of the expected debut next month of Quattro, the first four-bladed razor system, to be made by rival Schick, a unit of St. Louis, MO, U.S.-based Energizer Holdings. (AP)
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