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Procter & Gamble Cuts Earnings Forecasts
Reuters
CINCINNATI — Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. on Tuesday revised downward its third-quarter and fiscal 2000 earnings estimates, citing higher-than-anticipated costs and a delay in U.S. approval of its osteoporosis drug Actonel.

However, the company also forecast sales growth of 7 to 8 percent for the fiscal 2000 second half, and fiscal 2001 sales growth of 6 to 8 percent and earnings per share growth of 13 to 15 percent.

P&G; said it expects third-quarter earnings per share on a diluted basis to be down 10 to 11 percent from a year earlier. It previously forecast a rise of 7 to 9 percent.

Analysts on average expect P&G;, whose best known products include Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste, to earn 78 cents a shares in the quarter, compared with 72 cents a year earlier, according to tracking firm First Call/Thomson Financial.

Per-share growth for the full fiscal year is expected to be about 7 percent, down from the 13 percent rise originally anticipated, P&G; said.

Analysts expect the company to earn $3.21 a share for the year, a 12.6 percent increase over fiscal 1999's $2.85, according to First Call.

P&G; said fourth-quarter earnings per share are expected to grow 16 to 18 percent from a year earlier. That compares with the 21.8 percent growth forecast by analysts polled by First Call. Wall Street expects earnings of 67 cents a share, up from 55 cents a year earlier.

P&G; attributed the lower earnings forecasts to higher-than-anticipated costs for pulp and petroleum-based raw materials.

It also cited a shift in milestone payment and minor asset sales from the January-to-March period to the April-to-June period and said the majority of this impact was associated with a delay in U.S. approval of Actonel, P&G;'s drug for osteoporosis.

P&G; said it expects sales growth of 7 to 8 percent for the second half of fiscal 2000 and said it was comfortable with guidance of 6 to 8 percent sales growth in fiscal 2001 and an increase in earnings per share at the upper end of 13 to 15 percent range.

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