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Kimberly-Clark Announces First Quarter 2024 Results and Raises 2024 Outlook

Mike Hsu "We delivered an encouraging set of first quarter results as we embark on this next chapter of growth for Kimberly-Clark." – Chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark.

April 23, 2024 - Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB) today reported first quarter 2024 results characterized by positive volume and mix gains driven by pioneering, innovative new products, leveraging continued productivity momentum for strong earnings growth versus the prior-year period.

"We delivered an encouraging set of first quarter results as we embark on this next chapter of growth for Kimberly-Clark," said Kimberly-Clark Chairman and CEO Mike Hsu. "I'm very thankful for the strong execution from our teams around the world who are making this happen."

Hsu continued, "Our powerhouse pipeline of innovation drove sequentially stronger gains from volume-plus-mix. We continued our strong productivity momentum through our efforts to optimize our margin structure, and we are making good progress focusing our enterprise as we advance the implementation of our new operating model. We're excited about our opportunities to capitalize on this momentum on a global level, enabling us to deliver long-term value for our stakeholders."

First Quarter 2024 Results

First quarter sales of $5.1 billion were 1 percent lower than the prior-year period, including negative impacts of approximately 5 percent from foreign currency translation and approximately 1 percent from the divestiture of the Tissue and K-C Professional business in Brazil in June 2023. Organic sales were up 6 percent, driven by a 4 percent increase in price, 1 percent favorable product mix and a 1 percent increase in volume. Price-led gains reflected necessary pricing actions to address higher local costs in hyperinflationary economies, mainly in Argentina. Volume and mix were positive across North America, Developing and Emerging (D&E) markets, as well as Developed Markets (represents Australia, South Korea and Western/Central Europe).

In North America, organic sales increased 3 percent versus last year, driven by 2 percent growth in Personal Care and 6 percent growth in Consumer Tissue, partially offset by a decline of 1 percent in K-C Professional.

In D&E markets, organic sales were up 15 percent reflecting both pricing gains as well as volume and mix gains. Organic sales for Developed Markets decreased 2 percent, driven by lower pricing that primarily reflected comparisons with temporary, energy surcharge-related price increases in Western Europe in the prior-year period.

Gross margin improved by 390 bps to 37.1 percent as organic growth, together with gross productivity gains, more than offset cost inflation, primarily in developing markets and supply chain-related investments.

First quarter operating profit was $853 million, including $45 million of costs related to the company's transformation initiative, compared to $787 million last year. Adjusted operating profit increased by 14 percent despite an unfavorable impact of 12 percentage points from currency translation, primarily driven by hyperinflationary economies. Excluding currency impacts, growth in adjusted operating profit was driven by gross profit gains that were partially offset by planned increases in marketing, research and general expenses.

Net interest expense was $57 million versus $66 million in the prior-year period.

First quarter effective tax rate was 23.6 percent, compared to 24.5 percent prior year. On an adjusted basis, the effective rate in the first quarter was 23.6 percent.

Net income of equity companies was $61 million compared to $43 million last year driven by greater income from Kimberly-Clark de Mexico.

Diluted EPS increased 14 percent to $1.91 on a reported basis and included a negative $0.10 impact from costs related to the company's transformation initiative. On an adjusted basis, EPS increased 20 percent to $2.01, driven primarily by the 14 percent increase in adjusted operating profit, aided by lower net interest, a lower effective tax rate, and higher equity income.


Personal Care Segment

Personal Care sales of $2.7 billion were in line with the year-ago period, while organic sales increased 10 percent, driven by pricing actions in hyperinflationary economies as well as volume and mix gains. Innovation, solid commercial execution and supply improvements contributed to volume growth, led by a 4 percent increase in D&E markets and a 1 percent increase in North America partially offset by 2 percent decline in Developed Markets.

First-quarter operating profit of $545 million increased 12 percent as strong organic growth and gross productivity savings were partially offset by cost inflation, primarily in developing and hyperinflationary markets, investments in marketing, research and general expenses, as well as unfavorable currency translation.

Consumer Tissue Segment

Consumer Tissue sales of $1.6 billion decreased 2 percent due to divestitures and business exits while organic sales were in line with the year ago period. Organic growth of 6 percent in North America was primarily offset by expected lower pricing in Western Europe due to lapping of energy surcharges.

First-quarter operating profit of $290 million increased 21 percent, driven by the normalization of revenue realization and input cost levels versus the prior-year period as well as incremental gross productivity gains in the current quarter.

K-C Professional (KCP) Segment

KCP sales of $823 million decreased 3 percent due to divestitures and business exits. Organic sales increased 2 percent, driven by price realization and mix benefits from strong demand for new washroom solutions. Lower volumes reflected ongoing rightsizing of the portfolio, primarily in North America.

First-quarter operating profit of $188 million increased 18 percent driven by gross productivity gains as well as organic sales growth.

2024 Outlook

Based on its first quarter results, the company has updated its 2024 outlook, with all factors compared to 2023, as follows:

Organic Net Sales is now expected to grow mid-single digits versus the company's previous expectation of low-to mid-single-digit growth. The company now expects Reported Net Sales to be negatively impacted by 400 basis points of currency translation and 120 basis points from divestitures compared to its previous assumption of 300 basis points and 60 basis points, respectively.

Adjusted Operating Profit is now expected to grow at a low-teens percentage rate on a constant-currency basis. This is up from previous expectations for high-single-digit to low-double-digit Adjusted Operating Profit growth on a constant currency basis.

Adjusted Earnings Per Share is now expected to grow at a low-teens percentage rate on a constant-currency basis, an increase from previous expectations of high-single-digit growth.

Reported Operating Profit and Reported Earnings Per Share are currently expected to be negatively impacted by approximately 700 basis points from currency translation, compared to the company's previous assumptions for a 400 basis-point headwind.

This outlook reflects assumptions subject to change given the macro environment.

Kimberly-Clark and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries and territories. Its portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Plenitud, Sweety, Softex, Viva and WypAll, hold No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in approximately 70 countries.

SOURCE: Kimberly-Clark Corporation

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