Clorox cuts fiscal-year earnings forecast

CHICAGO Fri Aug 1, 2008 11:36am EDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Clorox Co (CLX.N) cut its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year on Friday, saying commodity and energy costs will be higher than expected.

The outlook came even as the maker of Clorox bleach, Glad plastic bags and Hidden Valley salad dressing said price increases and cost-cutting measures helped it post earnings for the fourth quarter ended June 30 that beat analysts' expectations.

For fiscal 2009, the company now expects earnings of $3.60 to $3.75 a share, saying that rising commodity and energy costs would offset the benefits of cost cutting and price increases. In May, the company forecast $3.75 to $3.90 a share.

Fourth-quarter profit fell to $158 million, or $1.13 a share, from $164 million, or $1.07 a share, a year earlier, when there were about 14 million more shares outstanding.

Analysts on average had forecast $1.10 a share, according to Reuters Estimates. Earlier this month, Clorox said earnings would come in at $1.10 to $1.13.

Sales rose 11 percent to $1.5 billion.

Clorox shares were up 31 cents at $54.81 in early New York Stock Exchange trade.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)

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