Like many other large-cap firms, consumer products
) has been in cost-cutting mode in recent quarters, getting
leaner and meaner to pump up the bottom line. The results are
Improving fundamentals and news of a dividend increase Tuesday
have the stock trading near all-time highs. The company lifted
its quarterly dividend nearly 4% to 84 cents a share, giving it a
current yield of 3.1%.
The dividend is payable April 2 to shareholders of record
In late January, the company reported quarterly profit of
$1.44 a share, up 5% from a year ago. Sales were flat at just
over $5.3 billion, but organic sales (from existing operations)
rose 5% and international sales increased 11%. Management's
efficiency is reflected in the high annual return on equity of
In 2012, Kimberly-Clark announced plans to restructure its
European business. It exited the diaper business in most of
Western and Central Europe. It also divested or exited
lower-margin businesses in certain European markets, mostly in
the consumer tissue market. Both moves crimped overall sales in
the fourth quarter, but emerging markets remain strong. Volumes
increased in China, Russia and Vietnam and most of Latin America,
including Brazil and Venezuela.
Kimberly-Clark's products include Huggies diapers, Scott paper
towels and Kleenex tissues.
In November, the company announced plans to spin off its
health care business, which focuses on surgical and infection
prevention products and medical devices. In 2013, the business
contributed $1.62 billion in sales, or nearly 8% of total sales.
Kimberly-Clark plans to complete the spinoff by the third
Kimberly-Clark's current base-on-base pattern, which started
in April, shows a buy point of 110.52, or 10 cents above its Jan.
24 intraday high.