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Estée Lauder Q4 Profit Tops Estimates

Estée Lauder Q4 Profit Tops Estimates
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Cosmetics firm Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (EL: Quote) Thursday reported a significant increase in fourth-quarter profit, as sales climbed 7 percent from last year. Earnings topped Wall Street estimates and revenues met expectations.

Net earnings attributable to the company surged to $94 million or $0.24 per share from $51.2 million or $0.13 per share in the previous year. The latest results included returns and charges associated with restructuring activities of $0.01 per share, compared to $0.04 per share last year.

Excluding items, net earnings rose to $0.24 per share from $0.17 per share in the prior-year period. On average, 18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.21 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter rose 7 percent to $2.41 billion from $2.25 billion in the prior-year period. Excluding currency impact, net sales increased 8 percent. Analysts expected revenues of $2.41 billion.

Product-wise, Skin Care sales grew 9 percent to $1.057 billion, while Makeup revenue was 4 percent higher at $948 million. Fragrance revenues increased 12 percent to $271.2 million.

Net sales grew in each of the company's geographic regions, reflecting mid-single-digit gains in the U.S. and double-digit local currency increases in many European countries, as well as in travel retail. In Asia/Pacific, Australia, Hong Kong, China and Japan saw strong local currency growth.

For the full year, net earnings attributable to the company climbed 19 percent to $1.02 billion from $856.9 million. Earnings per share advanced to $2.58 from $2.16. Sales rose 5 percent to $10.182 billion.

Fabrizio Freda, CEO, said, "We concluded another outstanding fiscal year with a strong fourth quarter that saw high-single-digit sales gains and exceptional double-digit earnings per share growth. Fiscal 2013 marked another record year in which our Company achieved a number of historic milestones...''

Looking ahead to the first quarter, net earnings per share are projected to be between $0.67 and $0.71. Net sales are expected to grow 5 to 7 percent in constant currency. Analysts expect earnings of $0.90 per share for the quarter on revenues of $2.72 billion.

For fiscal 2014, earnings per share are projected to be $2.74 to $2.87 and net sales are anticipated to grow between 6 and 8 percent in constant currency. Foreign currency translation is expected to hurt sales by about 2 percent, which equates to about $0.10 of earnings per share. Excluding this foreign exchange impact, earnings per share is expected to rise 8 to 13 percent.

Wall Street looks for annual earnings of $2.94 per share on revenues of $10.83 billion.

EL, which closed at $65.13 on Wednesday, is gaining 3.6 percent in pre-market activity.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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