Tissue World Magazine
Alexandra Stuthridge, Technical Business Manager, BioProducts Institute (BPI)

Kimberly-Clark has reported “solid first quarter” results but said first quarter sales for its consumer tissue segment decreased 2%.

For the first quarter of 2014, the group’s net sales of $5.3 billion decreased 1% compared to the same period a year ago.

Organic sales rose 4% including a 12% increase in K-C International.

The company said its performance benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings and lower selling, general and administrative expenses.

It added that comparisons were negatively impacted by unfavourable foreign currency exchange rates, input cost inflation and a high level of other income in the year-ago period.

Chairman and chief executive Thomas J. Falk said: “We delivered a solid first quarter with good organic sales growth and cost savings. We also launched a number of product innovations and made further progress with targeted growth initiatives.”

He added that although the company continues to face “headwinds from currency exchange rates and cost inflation”, it is maintaining its full-year guidance for adjusted earnings per share.

K-C’s consumer tissue segment reported first quarter sales of $1.7 billion, a decreased of 2%.

The company said lower sales in conjunction with European strategic changes and pulp and tissue restructuring actions reduced sales by 2% and currency rates were unfavourable by 2%.

Net selling prices rose 2% and product mix was up slightly while first quarter operating profit of $257 million decreased 1%.

The company said the comparison was negatively impacted by input cost inflation and other manufacturing cost increases, mostly offset by benefits from organic sales growth and cost savings.

Sales in North America were down 1% while sales volumes fell 4% as comparisons were impacted by a soft cold and flu season that affected Kleenex facial tissue sales, along with strong year-ago shipments for Cottonelle bathroom tissue.

Sales in K-C International increased 2% despite an eight point negative impact from changes in currency rates.

Sales volumes rose 6% while net selling prices improved 2% and product mix was favourable by 1%. Organic growth was driven by increases in Latin America, primarily in Brazil and Venezuela.

Sales in Europe decreased 9% including a 12 point negative impact from lower sales in conjunction with European strategic changes and pulp and tissue restructuring actions.