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Clorox Confirms 4Q Expectations

June 19, 2002

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Clorox Co. on Wednesday confirmed its May 2 fourth-quarter expectations for adjusted earnings, sales and volume growth.

The Oakland, Calif.-based household-products company said it anticipates fourth quarter pro forma earnings of 60 cents to 62 cents a share. Pro forma earnings exclude the prorated tax effect of an Argentina asset-impairment charge, estimated at 6 cents a share.

A Thomson Financial/First Call survey of 12 analysts produced a mean earnings estimate of 61 cents a share for the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2001, Clorox earned $81 million, or 34 cents a share, including charges on sales of $1.1 billion. Excluding charges of $27 million on inventory and asset impairment, earnings were 45 cents a share.

On the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, Clorox anticipates fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents to 56 cents a share.

Clorox said issuing guidance, even if it’s just a confirmation, is standard practice before the company goes into its quiet period.

The company attributed the fourth-quarter earnings forecast to strong volume in U.S. operations and better gross margins.

Excluding the impact of divestitures, Clorox expects fourth-quarter sales growth of 5 percent to 7 percent and volume growth of 3 percent to 4 percent.

For the Household Products-North America and Specialty Products units, Clorox expects sales growth of 6 percent to 8 percent and volume growth of 4 percent to 5 percent in the fourth quarter, a forecast that also excludes the impact of divestitures.

In May, Clorox said it anticipated fourth-quarter volume and sales growth in the low- to mid-single digits but didn’t provide more specific numbers.

Clorox expects fourth-quarter operating margins of about 20 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the year-ago period. This reflects strong gross margin gains from cost-saving initiatives partly offset by increased advertising of core brands and new products.

Clorox previously expected operating margins in the ``low 19s to low 20s.″

Clorox plans to report fourth quarter and fiscal 2002 earnings Aug. 7.

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