P&G repurchasing shares, quiet on potential deals

CHICAGO Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:33am EST

Boxes of Tide detergent, a Procter & Gamble product, sit on a shelf in a store in Alexandria, May 28, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley

Boxes of Tide detergent, a Procter & Gamble product, sit on a shelf in a store in Alexandria, May 28, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) does not see acquisitions as a core part of its growth plan and has started to buy back shares again, Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said on Friday.

"There seems to be continuous speculation ... about what P&G may buy or sell," Moeller said during a morning presentation at a Morgan Stanley conference.

He did not specifically address whether P&G is trying to buy part of Sara Lee Corp's SLE.N European business or if brands such as Pringles, Iams, Duracell or Braun could be on the chopping block.

Sources previously told Reuters that P&G has looked at Sara Lee's European air freshener business but does not want the other parts of the household products unit.

While he did not name specific businesses, Moeller said that divesting a "struggling consumer products business" would not cut into earnings as much as, for instance, last month's sale of the pharmaceuticals business to Warner Chilcott Plc WCRX.O. That deal is expected to reduce P&G's earnings by 16 cents to 18 cents per share.

P&G is targeting a "meaningful" level of share buybacks, Moeller said. Still, that level is likely to be below the $8 billion annual threshold set before the financial crisis, he added.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; editing by John Wallace)

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