UPDATE 3-Mead Johnson cuts outlook as China challenges remain
* 3rd-qtr EPS $0.71/shr misses Wall Street view by a penny * Sales of $921.3 mln miss estimates of * Sees '12 EPS $2.91-$2.96/shr; Prior view was $2.95-$3.05/shr * Shares down 9 pct Oct 25 (Reuters) - Mead Johnson Nutrition Co reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results and cut its full-year outlook, hurt by weakness in China, Europe and the United States, sending its shares down about 9 percent. The maker of Enfamil baby formula said it now expected 2012 earnings of $2.91 to $2.96 per share, down from its prior forecast of $2.95 to $3.05. The company lost market share in China earlier this year after it raised prices and a competitor offered aggressive promotions. In the third quarter, sales in the Asia/Latin America segment rose 1 percent, as price increases were largely offset by volume declines and the strong U.S. dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales. Sales slipped to $921.3 million, missing analysts' average estimate of $976.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales fell 6 percent in the North America/Europe segment. The company cited the weak economy in Europe and the impact in North America of lower births and a lingering impact from a contamination scare late last year. Net income was $140.3 million, or 69 cents per share, down from $144.7 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings were 71 cents per share. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 72 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. RBC Capital Markets analyst Edward Aaron said the overall results were disappointing, but he noted a few bright spots -- the fact that sales do not seem to be slowing in other emerging markets, that the China weakness was also related to distributor inventory reductions, and that marketing spending has not declined. Shares fell 9 percent to $63.20 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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