UPDATE 1-Energizer tops expectations, Superstorm Sandy lifts sales

Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:31am EST

* Adjusted profit $2.20/share vs Street view $2.15

* Sales down 0.5 percent to $1.193 billion

* Keeps annual profit forecast

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Energizer Holdings Inc's profit came in ahead of expectations on Thursday after Superstorm Sandy led people to stock up on batteries, though the company's businesses remain under pressure.

In November, Energizer laid out plans to cut more than 10 percent of its workforce, or about 1,500 jobs, as it tries to rev up its battery business. The company is banking on new products including an Edge razor that it will launch this year to boost sales.

Energizer said it earned $129.8 million, or $2.07 per share, in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $143.8 million, or $2.15 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings per share rose to $2.20 from $2.05, and topped analysts' target of $2.15, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales declined to nearly $1.193 billion from $1.198 billion.

Energizer said it still expected 2013 adjusted earnings of $6.75 to $7 per share.

In the latest quarter, sales of personal care goods such as Schick razors fell 1.8 percent to $554.3 million due to heavy promotional activity that the company faced from market leader Gillette, which is part of Procter & Gamble Co.

Sales of household products such as batteries rose 0.7 percent to $638.2 million. Energizer said it believed that Superstorm Sandy and the days following it led to about $18 million of incremental sales in the quarter.

Excluding the lift from the storm, demand for batteries continues to decline, as people increasingly use products such as iPads and iPods that do not require disposable batteries.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article