By  on April 29, 2005

NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble Co. posted a 12.6 percent increase in fiscal third-quarter profits, easily beating analysts’ estimates, helped by solid sales in each of its three main product categories.

Cincinnati-based P&G earned $1.7 billion, or 63 cents a diluted share, in the three months ended March 31, ahead of analysts’ expectations for earnings of 61 cents. Comparatively, P&G earned $1.5 billion, or 55 cents, a year ago. 

The company’s beauty care segment had sales totaling $4.9 billion, up 9 percent from a year ago, driven in part by its Olay, Hugo Boss and Pantene brands. P&G’s health, baby and family care unit saw sales rise 14 percent to $5.05 billion, and sales in its household care division were up 8 percent to $4.6 billion. Net earnings increased 23 percent to $701 million driven by robust volume growth, the impact of the company’s increased ownership of the China operation and the impact of the domination and profit transfer agreement with Wella. Quarterly net revenues were $14.3 billion, up 9.7 percent from last year’s $13.03 billion.

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