Kimberly-Clark Corporation reported year-end 2015 results and provided its 2016 outlook and related key planning assumptions.
Fourth quarter 2015 net sales of $4.5 billion decreased 6 percent compared to the year-ago period, as changes in foreign currency exchange rates reduced sales 11 percent. Organic sales rose 5 percent, including a 9 percent increase in developing and emerging markets. Diluted net income per share for the fourth quarter was income of $0.91 in 2015 and a loss of $0.22 in 2014. Full-year diluted net income per share was $2.77 in 2015 and $4.04 in 2014.
Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share were $1.42 in 2015 compared to adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.35 in 2014. Performance benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings, input cost deflation and a lower share count. Comparisons were negatively impacted by unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate effects, increased marketing, research and general spending on a local currency basis and higher other expense. Adjusted earnings per share in both years exclude certain items described later in this news release.
Full-year adjusted earnings per share were $5.76 in 2015, up 5 percent compared to adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations of $5.51 in 2014. The company’s previous guidance was for adjusted earnings per share of $5.70 to $5.80. The company’s original outlook in January 2015 was for adjusted earnings per share of $5.60 to $5.80.
At the end of 2015, Kimberly-Clark deconsolidated its Venezuelan business from the company’s balance sheet and moved to the cost method of accounting for its operations in Venezuela. As a result, the company recorded an after tax charge of $102 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Adjusted earnings per share in 2016 are expected to be $5.95 to $6.15. The outlook reflects expectations for 3 to 5 percent organic sales growth, substantial cost savings, relatively benign commodity costs and significantly unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Falk said, “Our fourth quarter results capped off another year of good financial performance for Kimberly-Clark. For the full year of 2015, we achieved 5 percent organic sales growth, highlighted by 10 percent growth in developing and emerging markets and a 5 percent volume increase in our North American consumer products business. We also improved adjusted operating profit margin by 120 basis points, including benefits from $365 million of FORCE cost savings. In addition, we grew adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations 5 percent, toward the high end of our original guidance for the year despite significantly more currency headwinds. Finally, we improved return on invested capital considerably and returned $2.1 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. I’m pleased with our execution in a challenging environment.”
Falk added, “Looking to 2016, we will continue to focus on the fundamentals that create shareholder value and we expect to deliver good underlying financial performance. We will also continue to invest in our brands, our targeted growth initiatives and our capabilities. We plan to achieve healthy organic sales growth and cost savings, improve cash flow and allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways. Despite another year of significantly unfavorable currencies, we also expect to further improve our margins and deliver 3 to 7 percent growth in adjusted earnings per share. We are very optimistic about our future and our ability to generate attractive returns to shareholders through successful execution of our Global Business Plan.”