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UPDATE 2-Newell profit beats on emerging markets, cost cuts
* Q2 EPS ex-items 47 cents vs Street's 45 cents
* Sales fall 1.9 pct to $1.52 billion, meets expectations
* Maintains profit forecast for the year
* Emerging markets, efforts to boost productivity help
* Analyst calls company's goals "realistic"
By Dhanya Skariachan
July 27 (Reuters) - Newell Rubbermaid Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, boosted by strength in emerging markets and the consumer goods maker's own efforts to improve productivity.
The maker of Sharpie markers and Rubbermaid storage containers has been counting on fast-growing markets such as Latin America and Asia Pacific to offset weak demand in Europe, which is reeling from an economic crisis.
Net income fell to $111.8 million, or 38 cents a share, for the second quarter, from $146.7 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding restructuring costs and tax charges from its European unit, Newell earned 47 cents a share, while analysts had expected 45 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, whose other products include Graco strollers, Calphalon cookware and Paper Mate pens, said net sales had fallen 1.9 percent to about $1.52 billion, in line with analysts' estimates.
While sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa fell 30.1 percent, they rose 2.3 percent in Latin America and 11.2 percent in the Asia Pacific region.
Unfavorable currency fluctuations also hurt Newell during the quarter.
The company now sees currency reducing net sales by about two percentage points in the full year, compared with its previous expectation of between one and two percentage points. However, it maintained its forecast for 2 percent to 3 percent growth in core sales, which exclude the impact of currency.
Newell also stood by its full-year profit forecast of $1.63 to $1.69 a share, excluding restructuring costs and tax charges.
The company's goals were "realistic," BMO Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty said, adding that "the stage is being set" for stronger profit growth in the future. She has an "outperform" rating on the shares.
The company, which named former Unilever executive Michael Polk as its chief executive last year, has reduced the number of its operating groups to two from three, with one for consumers and the other for the professional market.
It has cut the number of global business units to nine from 13 and consolidated its manufacturing plants and distribution centers, all as part of an effort called "Project Renewal."
Newell, which sells to companies ranging from mass merchant Target Corp to office supply chain Staples Inc, has said it expects to use the savings from its restructuring efforts to reinvest in its high-growth businesses and markets, including its e-commerce operation and distribution in Latin America.
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