Kimberly-Clark's Dividend Increase Overshadowed by Weak Results

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Key Takeaways

  • Kimberly-Clark Corp. missed fourth-quarter profit and sales forecasts as the strong dollar hurt international revenue. Its stock dropped as a result Wednesday.
  • The maker of consumer products was also affected by the divestiture of a business in Brazil.
  • Kimberly-Clark raised its quarterly dividend by 4 cents to $1.22 per share.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) shares slumped nearly 5% Wednesday after the consumer products firm missed profit and sales forecasts as the strong dollar took a bite out of international revenue.

The maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers posted fourth-quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $1.51. Revenue was essentially flat at $4.97 billion. Both missed analysts’ estimates.

The company attributed 2% of the sales decrease to changes in foreign currency exchange rates, while the divestiture of its tissue and K-C Professional businesses in Brazil lowered sales by another approximately 1%.

The fourth-quarter financial report overshadowed the company’s dividend increase of 4 cents. In a separate release Wednesday, the company said it was increasing its quarterly dividend to $1.22 per share to be paid April 2 to stockholders of record on March 8.

Kimberly-Clark said organic sales in rose 3% last year, “driven by a 2% increase in price from ongoing revenue growth management programs and a 1% favorable product mix.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Hsu said Kimberly-Clark ended the year “having advanced the company's strategic foundation and financial position,” adding that Kimberly-Clark has “confidence this phase of cost recovery and supply-chain stabilization is largely behind us.”

The company’s 2024 outlook is for EPS to be up a "high-single-digit" percentage, and organic net sales to grow by a "low- to mid-single-digit" percentage.
Shares of Kimberly-Clark hit a two-and-a-half-year high last April, but have fallen steadily and are down almost 12% over the past year. At about 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, the stock traded at about $119, off 4.9%.
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