Estee Lauder quarterly profit tops view

NEW YORK Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:07am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cosmetics company Estee Lauder Cos Inc (EL.N) posted better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by higher sales in all categories and the weak U.S. dollar, and its shares rose nearly 7 percent.

Net income increased to $120.2 million, or 61 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended June 30, from $88.6 million, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected 56 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

New York-based Estee Lauder, whose brands include MAC, Clinique, Aveda and Bobbi Brown, said quarterly sales rose 14 percent to $2.01 billion. Excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rates, which boosted the dollar value of sales from overseas, sales were up 9 percent.

For the current, first quarter, Estee Lauder forecast earnings of 18 cents to 25 cents per share and net sales growth of 9 percent to 11 percent.

For fiscal 2009, the company said it expected earnings per share of $2.57 to $2.72 and net sales growth of 6 percent to 8 percent.

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 24 cents for the first quarter and $2.66 for the full year.

In trading before the market opened, Estee Lauder shares were up 6.8 percent at $48 from Wednesday's New York Stock Exchange close of $44.96.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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