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Kimberly-Clark Corp. Earnings Slip

October 22, 2003

DALLAS (AP) _ Kimberly-Clark Corp., the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies disposable diapers, said its third-quarter profit fell nearly 5 percent amid increased competition in the market for diapers and training pants.

The consumer goods company said Wednesday it earned $419.7 million, or 83 cents per share, down from $441.2 million, or 85 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges for redeeming debt, the company said it would have earned 85 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected 84 cents per share.

Net sales rose 4.4 percent to $3.64 billion from $3.49 billion.

Kimberly-Clark said net selling prices declined about 1 percent because of increased competitive promotional spending. The company said the decline was 2 percent for personal-care products in North America, mostly to counter price reductions by a competitor in the training-pants market. Procter & Gamble has spent heavily to promote its Pampers training pants.

Chief executive Thomas J. Falk said he didn’t expect any letup in competitive pressure and that tissue products would be affected by higher costs for raw materials in the fourth quarter.

But he said the company was comfortable with Wall Street’s expectations for full-year profits. Analysts expect the company to earn $3.32 per share for the year.

For the first nine months of the year, Kimberly-Clark earned $1.23 billion, or $2.42 per share, a drop of 5.4 percent from $1.31 billion, or $2.50 per share, in the same period last year. Net sales rose 4 percent to $10.65 billion from $10.23 billion.

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On the Net:

http://www.kimberly-clark.com

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