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Dial Second Quarter Profit Soars

July 18, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Dial Corp.’s second-quarter profit more than doubled, thanks to stronger sales of Purex laundry detergent and tighter cost controls, the company said Thursday.

The company also raised its full-year outlook.

The maker of products ranging from Dial soap to Armour Star canned meats said net income came to $33.4 million, or 35 cents a share, up from $14.7 million, or 16 cents a share in the year-ago period.

The latest figure included a gain of $2.2 million, or 2 cents a share, from the sale of a plant in Mexico City and from a joint venture.

Excluding the gain, Dial’s profit still topped the 32 cents a share average forecast by analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Sales climbed 5.6 percent in the latest quarter to $333.3 million from $315.7 million.

Laundry detergent sales surged 21 percent.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company raised its annual forecast to $1.19 a share. In May it had predicted earnings of $1.06 to $1.08 a share.

Last August, Dial announced its board had concluded it would be in the company’s best interest to be part of a larger enterprise, and the company should remain focused on increasing earnings with a goal of ``maximizing value.″

Analysts took that to mean the company was for sale.

Meantime, Dial said it continues to review a possible sale of its Argentina business which has been hurt by foreign currency devaluation.

As of June 29, Dial’s investment in the Argentina business was $26 million.

Excluding sales in Argentina, Dial sales would have risen by about 8 percent in the second quarter.

Shares of Dial closed Thursday at $19, down 53 cents, or 2.7 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

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