15 de mayo de 2008 / 17:51 / en 10 años

UPDATE 2-Prestige Brands Q4 profit tops market estimates

(Recasts; adds conference call details, updates share movement)

May 15 (Reuters) - Prestige Brands Holdings Inc (PBH.N), a maker of healthcare, personal care and household products, posted quarterly earnings above market estimates, and said it is looking to sell its personal care segment and certain small over-the-counter brands.

The company’s shares had fallen to a low of $8.47 earlier but rebounded and were up more than 4 percent at $9 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had risen 15 percent so far this year before Thursday’s gains.

For the fourth quarter, Prestige Brands posted a nearly 24 percent rise in profit helped by a dip in expenses and higher sales at its healthcare and household products segments.

It earned $10.4 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $8.4 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 3 percent to $80.4 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of 19 cents a share, excluding special items, on revenue of $80.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Total operating expenses fell marginally to $16.4 million from $16.6 million.

Irvington, New York-based Prestige, which competes with larger rivals like Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and Clorox (CLX.N), said sales at its healthcare and household products segments rose 7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Revenue from the personal care segment, which is the smallest of all segments, was 22 percent lower from a year earlier.

The company’s key brands include Compound W wart remover, Chloraseptic sore throat treatment, New-Skin liquid bandage, Clear Eyes eye care and Murine eye and ear care products, Little Remedies pediatric OTC products, Cutex nail polish remover, Comet and Spic and Span household products.

The company said it expects revenue growth of 2 percent to 4 percent, beginning in earnest in the second quarter, a company official said during a conference call with analysts.

The company sees earnings per share growth to be meaningfully higher than sales growth beginning in the second quarter.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 18 cents a share, before items, on revenue view $89.3 million for the second quarter. (Reporting by Sriram Iyer and Dilipp S. Nag in Bangalore; Editing by Amitha Rajan and Deepak Kannan)

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