Kimberly-Clark remains upbeat despite global challenges
NEW MILFORD — Even as many of its growing markets are experiencing economic troubles, Kimberly-Clark executives this week said they remain optimistic.
Tom Falk, the company’s chief executive officer, said the company increased sales by more than 10 percent in markets like China and Brazil, which is facing one of its worst recessions in more than a century. About 30 percent of the company’s revenues come from developing countries.
Kimberly-Clark is one of the largest employers in town with about 300 employees at its southern New Milford plant that manufactures a variety of products, including Kleenex tissues. The company is based in Irving, Texas.
“We delivered another year of good financial performance in a challenging environment,” Falk said during a conference call with analysts this week. “We are in 115 cities in China and we are targeting 130 cities by the end of the year.”
He said sales of Huggies diapers grew by more than 25 percent in China last year and by more than 10 percent in Brazil. But currency issues are forcing the company to increase its prices in many of its markets, including Brazil, Falk said.
While organic sales as a whole grew by about 5 percent during the past quarter and about 4 percent by volume, the company reported a decrease in sales of about 6 percent to $4.5 billion due to currency translations. Fourth-quarter adjusted net earnings came in at $1.42 per share, an increase of about 5 percent and in line with most Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.43 cents per share.
“Even though the volatility has increased and the economy is slowing down in some parts of the world, we remain optimistic about our growth prospects for 2016 with a growth of at least 5 to 6 percent in developing and emerging markets,” Falk said.
Kimberly-Clark executives also announced the company is increasing its alliance with Disney, including an increased availability of Kimberly-Clark products at Disney parks and resorts, including Baby Care Centers that will be hosted by Huggies.
Shares of Kimberly-Clark declined about half a point during trading on Wednesday to close at about $124.