Kimberly-Clark Announces Year-End 2017 Results, 2018 Outlook, New Global Restructuring And ...
...Multi-Year Cost Savings Target
Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB) reported year-end 2017 results and provided its 2018 outlook. The company also announced a new global restructuring initiative and established a multi-year savings target for its ongoing cost savings program.
-Fourth quarter 2017 net sales of $4.6 billion increased 1 percent compared to the year-ago period and full-year 2017 net sales of $18.3 billion rose slightly.
-Diluted net income per share for the fourth quarter was $1.75 in 2017 and $1.40 in 2016. Full-year diluted net income per share was $6.40 in 2017 and $5.99 in 2016.
-Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share were $1.57 in 2017 and $1.45 in 2016. Adjusted earnings per share exclude certain items described later in this news release.
-Full-year adjusted earnings per share were $6.23 in 2017, up 3 percent compared to $6.03 in 2016. The company's previous guidance was for earnings at the low end of the $6.20 to $6.35 range.
-The company has established a cost savings target of more than $1.5 billion over the 2018 to 2021 time period from its ongoing FORCE (Focused On Reducing Costs Everywhere) program.
-In addition, the company announced a new 2018 Global Restructuring Program to reduce the company's structural cost base by streamlining and simplifying its manufacturing supply chain and overhead organization. The restructuring is expected to generate annual cost savings of $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021 and accelerate the company's return to delivering its long-term growth objectives over time.
-Net sales in 2018 are expected to increase 1 to 2 percent. Diluted net income per share for 2018 is anticipated to be $3.90 to $4.50, including charges related to the restructuring. Adjusted earnings per share in 2018 are expected to be $6.90 to $7.20, a year-on-year increase of approximately 11 to 16 percent.
-The company's Board of Directors has approved a 3.1 percent increase in the quarterly dividend for 2018, which is the 46th consecutive annual increase in the dividend.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Falk (photo) said, "In 2017, we delivered bottom-line growth in a challenging environment. We also achieved all-time record FORCE cost savings of $450 million and reduced discretionary spending to help offset inflationary cost headwinds. In addition, we returned $2.3 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases."
Falk continued, "Although we expect market conditions will remain challenging in the near-term, we plan to deliver better results in 2018 while we begin to implement our new restructuring. We expect organic sales to return to growth while improving our margins and delivering double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share. In addition, we will increase investments in our brands, our growth initiatives and the capabilities we need for long-term success. We will also continue to allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways."
Falk concluded, "We believe that, over time, our 2018 Global Restructuring Program will accelerate our return to delivering on our long-term growth objectives. This is the biggest restructuring we have undertaken since the introduction of our Global Business Plan in 2003, and it will make our company leaner, stronger and faster. The changes we are making will improve our underlying profitability, provide more flexibility to invest in growth opportunities and help us compete even more effectively. At the same time, we are expecting our ongoing FORCE program to continue to deliver significant results and are making that clear by establishing a multi-year commitment for this program. Combined, our restructuring and FORCE programs will generate more than $2 billion of total cost savings over the next four years, giving us substantial funds to drive profitable growth. Today's announcement is the latest example of Kimberly-Clark's proactive and strategic approach to improving our business so we can win in the marketplace and create long-term shareholder value."
Fourth Quarter 2017 Operating Results
Sales of $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 were up 1 percent compared to the year-ago period. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates benefited sales by more than 1 percent. Organic sales fell about 1 percent, as lower net selling prices of 2 percent were partially offset by improved product mix of 1 percent and slightly higher volumes. In North America, organic sales were down 3 percent in consumer products and up 1 percent in K-C Professional. Outside North America, organic sales increased 4 percent in developing and emerging markets but fell 3 percent in developed markets.
Fourth quarter operating profit was $812 million in 2017 and $839 million in 2016. Fourth quarter adjusted operating profit was $836 million in 2017 and $859 million in 2016. The year-over-year comparison was impacted by lower net selling prices and $130 million of higher input costs, driven by increases in pulp and other raw materials. Results benefited from favorable volumes and product mix, $95 million of cost savings from the company's FORCE program and reduced marketing, research and general spending.
The fourth quarter effective tax rate was 19.2 percent in 2017 and 35.7 percent in 2016. The rate in 2017 included a net benefit as a result of U.S. tax reform and related activities. The fourth quarter adjusted effective tax rate was 29.7 percent in 2017 and 35.4 percent in 2016.
Kimberly-Clark's share of net income of equity companies in the fourth quarter was $25 million in 2017 and $29 million in 2016. At Kimberly-Clark de Mexico, results were impacted by higher input costs, partially offset by benefits from sales growth and cost savings.
Cash Flow and Balance Sheet
Cash provided by operations in the fourth quarter was $863 million in 2017 and $871 million in 2016. Full-year cash provided by operations was $2,929 million in 2017 compared to $3,232 million in 2016. The decline was in line with expectations and driven by higher tax payments. Capital spending for the fourth quarter was $190 million in 2017 and $189 million in 2016. Full-year spending was $785 million in 2017 and $771 million in 2016.
Fourth quarter 2017 share repurchases were 0.9 million shares at a cost of $100 million, bringing full-year repurchases to 7.2 million shares at a cost of $900 million. Total debt was $7.4 billion at the end of 2017 and $7.6 billion at the end of 2016.
FORCE Cost Savings Target
The company has established a four-year cost savings target of more than $1.5 billion from its ongoing FORCE program over the 2018 to 2021 time period. The savings will further enhance the company's ability to invest in growth opportunities, offset headwinds and improve gross margin. The savings will be achieved through a continued focus on improving productivity at manufacturing facilities, optimizing raw material and product design costs, generating benefits from procurement activities and improving distribution efficiencies.
2018 Global Restructuring Program - Overview
The 2018 Global Restructuring Program is expected to reduce Kimberly-Clark's structural cost base and enhance the company's flexibility to invest in its brands, growth initiatives and capabilities critical to delivering future growth. The program will make Kimberly-Clark's overhead organization structure and manufacturing supply chain less complex and more efficient. Over time, the program is expected to accelerate the company's return to delivering sales and earnings growth in line with its Global Business Plan objectives and further enhance long-term shareholder value.
The company expects the program will generate annual pre-tax cost savings of $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021. Savings will be driven by workforce reductions, which are anticipated to be in a range of 5,000 to 5,500 (12 to 13 percent of current headcount), along with manufacturing supply chain efficiencies. The program is expected to broadly impact all of the company's business segments and organizations in each major geography. The savings are incremental to the company's ongoing FORCE cost savings program.
The company expects to close or sell approximately 10 manufacturing facilities and expand production capacity at several others to improve overall scale and cost. As part of the program, Kimberly-Clark expects to exit or divest some low-margin businesses that generate approximately 1 percent of company net sales. The sales are concentrated in the consumer tissue business segment.
To implement the restructuring program, the company expects total cash spending of $1,500 to $1,700 million by the end of 2020, consisting of $900 to $1,000 million in pre-tax cash restructuring charges and approximately $600 to $700 million in incremental capital spending.
The company also expects to incur non-cash restructuring charges of $800 to $900 million pre-tax by the end of 2020, making the total expected restructuring charges $1,700 to $1,900 million pre-tax ($1,350 to $1,500 million after-tax). Restructuring charges in 2018 are anticipated to be $1,200 to $1,350 million pre-tax ($950 to $1,050 million after tax). The company will exclude the restructuring charges when it reports adjusted results in future periods.
Fourth Quarter 2017 Business Segment Results
Personal Care Segment
Fourth quarter sales of $2.3 billion were up 1 percent. Volumes increased 2 percent and product mix improved 1 percent, while net selling prices fell 3 percent. In addition, changes in currency rates and the acquisition of the company's joint venture in India each benefited sales by less than 1 percent. Fourth quarter operating profit of $483 million decreased 2 percent. The comparison was impacted by lower net selling prices and input cost inflation. Results benefited from volume growth, improved product mix, cost savings and reduced marketing, research and general spending.
Sales in North America decreased 2 percent. Net selling prices declined 4 percent, including higher promotion spending in most categories, while volumes increased 2 percent. Adult care volumes rose mid-single digits, led by gains on the Poise brand. Total volumes in infant and child care were up low-single digits, driven by growth in Pull-Ups training pants.
Sales in developing and emerging markets increased 7 percent. Volumes increased 4 percent and product mix improved 3 percent, while net selling prices were down 3 percent. In addition, the acquisition of the company's joint venture in India benefited sales by 2 percent and currency rates were favorable by 1 percent. The volume increase was driven by gains in Latin America, primarily Argentina and Brazil, and in Eastern Europe.
Sales in developed markets outside North America (Australia, South Korea and Western/Central Europe) decreased 5 percent, despite a 2 point benefit from favorable currency rates. Volumes were down 7 percent, driven by South Korea. Net selling prices fell 2 percent, offset by improved product mix.
Consumer Tissue Segment
Fourth quarter sales of $1.5 billion decreased 1 percent. Volumes and net selling prices each fell 1 percent, while currency rates were favorable by less than 2 percent. Fourth quarter operating profit of $258 million decreased 13 percent. The comparison was impacted by lower sales and input cost inflation, partially offset by cost savings and reduced marketing, research and general spending.
Sales in North America decreased 4 percent. Volumes were down 2 percent, driven by lower bathroom tissue volumes. Net selling prices fell 2 percent, reflecting increased promotion spending.
Sales in developing and emerging markets increased 4 percent, including a 2 point benefit from favorable currency rates. Volumes increased 3 percent, while the combined impact of changes in net selling prices and product mix reduced sales by 1 percent.
Sales in developed markets outside North America increased more than 3 percent, including an approximate 5 point impact from favorable currency rates. Volumes declined 3 percent, primarily in Western/Central Europe, while the combined impact of changes in net selling prices and product mix benefited sales by 2 percent.
K-C Professional (KCP) Segment
Fourth quarter sales of $0.8 billion increased 3 percent. Changes in currency rates benefited sales by 2 percent and volumes increased 1 percent. Fourth quarter operating profit of $151 million increased 3 percent. The comparison benefited from volume growth, cost savings and lower marketing, research and general spending, mostly offset by input cost inflation.
Sales in North America increased 1 percent. Volumes were up 1 percent, including growth in safety and other product categories.
Sales in developing and emerging markets increased 6 percent, including a 3 point benefit from currency rates. Volumes were up 3 percent, primarily in China and Latin America.
Sales in developed markets outside North America were up 6 percent. Currency rates were favorable by 5 percent and product mix improved 1 percent.
Full Year 2017 Results
Sales of $18.3 billion were up slightly compared to the year-ago period. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates benefited sales by less than 1 percent. Organic sales were similar year-on-year, as volumes increased about 1 percent and product mix improved slightly, while net selling prices fell more than 1 percent. In North America, organic sales were down 2 percent in consumer products and similar year-on-year in K-C Professional. Outside North America, organic sales increased 3 percent in developing and emerging markets but fell 3 percent in developed markets.
Operating profit was $3,299 million in 2017 and $3,317 million in 2016. Adjusted operating profit was $3,323 million in 2017 and $3,341 million in 2016. Results were impacted by lower net selling prices and $355 million of higher input costs. The comparison benefited from volume growth, $450 million of FORCE cost savings and lower marketing, research and general spending.
Diluted net income per share was $6.40 in 2017 and $5.99 in 2016. Adjusted earnings per share of $6.23 in 2017 increased 3 percent compared to $6.03 in 2016.
2018 Outlook and Key Planning Assumptions
The company's key planning and guidance assumptions for 2018 are as follows:
-Net sales increase of 1 to 2 percent.
-----Organic sales are expected to increase approximately 1 percent, driven by higher volumes. Changes in net selling prices and product mix are expected to be similar, or up slightly, year-on-year.
-----Changes in foreign currency exchange rates are anticipated to have a neutral to 1 percent positive impact on net sales, and the acquisition of the company's joint venture in India should benefit sales slightly.
-Adjusted operating profit growth of 2 to 5 percent.
-----Cost savings of approximately $400 million from the FORCE program and $50 to $70 million from the 2018 Global Restructuring Program.
-----Inflation in key cost inputs of $300 to $400 million. A majority of the inflation is anticipated to occur in international markets. In North America, the company is assuming market prices of $1,050 to $1,100 per metric ton for eucalyptus pulp and mid-$50's to low-$60's per barrel for oil.
-Interest expense down approximately 20 percent, including benefits from redeeming, in December 2017, $500 million of notes originally due in late 2018.
-Adjusted effective tax rate of 23 to 26 percent.
-Net income from equity companies similar, or up slightly, year-on-year.
-Adjusted earnings per share of $6.90 to $7.20, up approximately 11 to 16 percent compared to $6.23 in 2017.
-Capital spending of approximately $1.1 billion.
-Dividend increase of 3.1 percent (approved by the Board of Directors and mentioned previously in this release). The quarterly dividend will increase to $1.00 per share, up from $0.97 per share in 2017. The first dividend will be payable on April 3, 2018 to stockholders of record on March 9, 2018.
-Share repurchases between $0.7 and $0.9 billion, subject to market conditions.