Fourth-quarter profits at Alberto-Culver Co. more than quadrupled to $147.1 million, from $36.5 million a year ago, because of gains from the sale of its Cederroth International AB consumer products unit.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, total earnings were $1.48 a diluted share, compared with 36 cents a year ago. The Melrose Park, Ill.-based firm accounted for the Cederroth sale among its discontinued operations, which made up $1.30 a share in earnings.
Earnings from continuing operations were $20.2 million, or 21 cents a diluted share, versus $29.4 million, or 30 cents, in the year-ago period and were affected by manufacturing facility closures and income tax expenses. Excluding restructuring and tax expenses related to the Scandinavia-based Cederroth sale, earnings came in at 31 cents a diluted share, meeting Wall Street analysts’ estimates.
Alberto-Culver’s TRESemmé hair care brand, which completed the year with $500 million in sales, helped drive up revenues 7.3 percent to $386 million, from $359.7 million in the year-ago quarter, as did strength in the firm’s Latin American business.
While sales of the firm’s Nexxus brand were down in the quarter and sales of its St. Ives skin care brand were soft, Nexxus remained a fast-growing brand, said V. James Marino,president and chief executive officer, while there was strength in the St. Ives business internationally.
“We’re better positioned for future growth,” Marino said during a conference call with analysts, citing strong cash flow, plans to boost marketing behind its recently acquired Noxzema business and improved logistics at its Jonesboro, Ark.-based manufacturing plant.
In addition, Alberto-Culver also was reorganized into U.S. and international business segments with new presidents atop each unit reporting to Marino.
“We ended the year in a strong financial position,” added Marino.
Full-year profits reached $228.2 million, or $2.27 a diluted share, up 191.5 percent, from $78.3 million, or 80 cents a share on sales that rose 9.7 percent to $1.44 billion, from $1.32 billion last year. U.S. sales generate about 60 percent of revenues at the firm, which also said it would increase prices on certain brands including TRESemmé in January.
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