Clorox soundly beats estimates on strong sales

Mon Feb 4, 2013 9:06am EST

(Reuters) - Clorox Co (CLX.N) quarterly profit soundly beat analysts' estimates as a severe flu season boosted sales of disinfecting wipes, and results were helped by a new concentrated version of its namesake bleach.

The company also on Monday raised its full-year sales forecast to an increase of 3 percent to 5 percent, from 2 percent to 4 percent.

The company, which also makes Brita water filters and Burt's Bees skin care products, said it earned $123 million, or 93 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter ended December 31. It earned $105 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, targeted 81 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 9 percent to $1.33 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of $1.27 billion.

The volume of goods sold rose 5 percent.

Price increases and cost cuts have helped Clorox's recent results. Over the past few years it has raised prices on a variety of products, such as its namesake bleach, Pine-Sol cleaners, GladWare disposable containers and Brita filters, as it has faced higher costs for materials.

Aside from raising its sales forecast, Clorox increased its fiscal-year earnings outlook to $4.25 to $4.35 a share, from $4.20 to $4.35 a share.

Clorox shares rose 1.4 percent to $80.20 in light premarket trading on Monday.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman and Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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