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Gillette Profits Rise 20 Percent

October 22, 2002

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BOSTON (AP) _ Battery and toiletries maker The Gillette Co. reported a 20 percent jump in third-quarter profits Tuesday as cost-cutting offset weaker sales of its Duracell battery brand.

Boston-based Gillette met analysts’ expectations by earning $354 million, or 33 cents per share, in the quarter ending Sept. 30, up from $296 million, or 28 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Sales rose 2 percent to $2.17 billion. Blade and razor sales rose 3 percent to $887 million, and profits in that division rose 14 percent to $377 million.

Duracell sales fell 4 percent to $482 million and the brand lost 2 points of market share, Gillette said, but profits rose 41 percent to $78 million due to cost-cutting and stronger operating margins.

``We are pleased with our third-quarter and year-to-date performance,″ said Gillette chairman and chief executive James M. Kilts. ``We continue to make good progress in strengthening our brands, reducing costs and improving our capabilities throughout the company. Our success with new products across the board is a good indicator of our overall momentum.″

Gillette shares traded down $1.27, or 4 percent, at $30.25 in trading late Tuesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the first nine months of the year, profits rose 23 percent to $870 million, or 82 cents per share, up from 710 million, or 67 cents per share at the same point last year. Sales grew to $5.92 billion from $5.67 billion.

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