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Alberto-Culver Profits Grow in Quarter, Year

NEW YORK — Alberto-Culver Co. managed double-digit profit gains for its fourth quarter and full year and expects growth to continue despite "substantial" political and economic challenges.<br><br>Net income surged 23.7 percent to $39.3 million,...

NEW YORK — Alberto-Culver Co. managed double-digit profit gains for its fourth quarter and full year and expects growth to continue despite “substantial” political and economic challenges.

Net income surged 23.7 percent to $39.3 million, or 66 cents a diluted share, from $31.8 million, or 55 cents, a year ago. Without the amortization of goodwill in the year-ago quarter, earnings would have increased a milder 15 percent.

Sales for the period ended Sept. 30 climbed 13.1 percent to $697.9 million from $617.3 million a year ago.

For the year, earnings improved 24.7 percent to $137.7 million, or $2.32 a diluted share, from $110.4 million, or $1.91, last year. Without the amortization of goodwill last year, profits would have perked up 15.6 percent. Revenues were up 11.4 percent for the 12 months to $2.65 billion from $2.38 billion last year.

“We have the brands, the plans, the people and the focus that can carry us to our 12th consecutive record sales and record earnings year in fiscal 2003,” said Howard Bernick, president and chief executive, in a statement. He conceded, though, that this would not be easy. “Given the recent slowdown in consumer spending, the financial markets’ volatility, the pressures on some of our trade partners and an uncertain international situation, fiscal year 2003, like the one we just completed, may very well be another year of substantial challenge for all companies.”

The firm also reported the election Thursday of two independent directors, Jim Edgar and James Brocksmith, to its board. Edgar is a former governor and secretary of state of Illinois and is a distinguished fellow at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He replaces Harold Visotsky, who recently passed away.

Brocksmith is an independent business consultant and former chief operating officer of the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick. He replaces A. Robert Abboud, who has told the company he will not stand for reelection.