P&G profit tops estimates as Taylor’s cost cuts gather steam

Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer-products company, posted first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by lower costs and a slimmer stable of brands. Profit was $1.03 a share, excluding some items, Cincinnati-based P&G said in a statement on Tuesday. Analysts estimated 98 cents, on average.

Revenue was little changed at $16.5 billion, roughly matching analysts’ projections.

The results show Chief Executive Officer David Taylor is making progress on the $10 billion cost-cutting program he embarked on after taking the helm last year. P&G also completed the divestiture of more than 40 beauty brands to Coty Inc. this month — a sale orchestrated by Taylor’s predecessor — allowing P&G to focus on reinvigorating its main household and personal-care businesses.

The shares rose 2.3 percent to $86 at 7:34 a.m. in early trading New York. The stock gained 5.9 percent this year through Monday.

P&G also showed some signs of improvement on the demand side, with organic sales — a measure that excludes the effects of currency exchange-rate fluctuations as well as acquisitions and divestitures — rising in all of the company’s units.

Sales by that measure advanced 3 percent in the grooming business, which includes Gillette shaving products. Organic sales climbed 3 percent in the beauty unit, which sells Pantene shampoo and Olay skincare products. The health care division, the maker of Crest toothpaste and Prilosec heartburn medicine, had the biggest organic sales increase at 7 percent.

P&G maintained its forecasts that organic sales would grow about 2 percent and adjusted earnings would increase at a mid-single-digit percentage rate in its current fiscal year.

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