Clorox Expects Profit to Meet Its Reduced Forecasts

From Bloomberg News

Clorox Co., which cut profit expectations twice since December, said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings will decline in line with its previous forecast because of higher energy costs and lower home-cleaner sales.

Oakland-based Clorox, the largest U.S. maker of household bleach, will post earnings of 43 cents to 46 cents a share for the quarter ending June 30, according to a statement.

The average estimate of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial is for profit of 43 cents a share. Clorox's per-share earnings were 58 cents in the year-ago period.

Rising expenses for shipping and petrochemicals used in making plastic bags continue to hurt profit, the company said.

Still, some investors feared Clorox might cut forecasts again, and today's statement suggests earnings will start to improve next year, an analyst said.

"This is better than the alternative, which was missing the quarter," Franklin Morton, research director for Ariel Capital Management. "I hope we are at the bottom. Things aren't getting worse."

Clorox shares rose 99 cents to close at $35.95 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have fallen 15% in the last year.

Unit volume, or the number of products sold, will be little changed from a year ago, company spokeswoman Kathryn Caulfield said.

Sales of household-cleaning products are falling because of sluggish demand for cleaners such as Formula 409 and Clorox disinfecting spray, the company said.

Among its other segments, Clorox's sales of specialty products are rising because of reduced demand for charcoal, Glad bags and Armor All car products.

International sales are falling because of weaker currencies and sluggish economies in Latin America, the company said.

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