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Kimberly-Clark reports results for the first quarter of 2023

April 25, 2023  By P&PC Staff/Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark reported first quarter 2023 results.

“I’m proud of our teams around the world for a strong start to the year. We grew organic sales by 5 percent, which reflects the health of our categories and the essential nature of our products,” said chairman and CEO Mike Hsu. “Our growth strategy continues to deliver behind strong execution of our commercial programs. Revenue growth management initiatives drove continued sales momentum with a better-than-expected elasticity impact on volume. Looking ahead, we have an exciting innovation pipeline that will deliver superior performance in health, wellness and sustainability. With our strong portfolio of trusted brands, we have our sights set on growing our categories and winning with consumers to enable long-term, profitable growth.”

Hsu continued, “While inflationary pressures have yet to subside, we drove continued improvement in our gross margin this quarter. We will continue to lean into our productivity and cost savings programs to mitigate elevated costs, while strategically investing in future growth platforms that will expand our presence in attractive markets for years to come.”


Quarter highlights include the following:

  •  Strong top-line growth, with net sales of $5.2 billion, up two percent with organic sales growth of five percent. On a combined two-year basis, organic growth increased eight percent.
  • Gross margin increased 340 basis points versus the prior year, driven by favourable net revenue realization offsetting inflation.
  • Diluted earnings per share were $1.67, up eight percent; up 24 percent versus adjusted earnings per share last year.
  • Raised 2023 outlook for adjusted earnings per share growth of six to 10 percent, with operating profit up low double digits on a percent basis versus adjusted results last year.

First quarter 2023 results

First quarter sales of $5.2 billion increased two percent, with organic sales up five percent, driven by a 10 percent increase in price and favourable product mix from ongoing revenue growth management programs offset by a five percent decrease in volume. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates decreased sales by approximately four percent. On a combined two-year basis, organic growth increased by eight percent.

In North America, sales increased five percent over last year, including increases of two percent in personal care, five percent in consumer tissue and 12 percent in K-C Professional.

Outside North America, organic sales were up four percent in developing and emerging (D&E) markets and 10 percent in developed markets (AustraliaSouth Korea and Western/Central Europe).

Gross margin improved by 340 basis points to 33.2 percent, with higher net revenue realization and cost savings offsetting higher input costs of $160 million.

First quarter operating profit was $787 million compared to $693 million last year, resulting in an operating margin of 15.1 percent, an increase of 150 basis points. On an adjusted basis, operating profit increased by 25 percent, driven by higher gross profit including $105 million in FORCE (Focus on Reducing Costs Everywhere) savings, offset by planned marketing, research and general expenses. Inflation increased input costs by $160 million this quarter, driven primarily by fibre and energy costs. Unfavourable currency effects impacted operating profit by $75 million during the quarter. Operating margin of 15.1 percent increased 280 basis points over adjusted operating margin last year.

Net interest expense was $66 million, an increase of five percent over the prior year due to higher weighted average interest rate on outstanding debt.

First quarter effective tax rate was 24.5 percent compared to reported rate of 18.2 percent and an adjusted rate of 21.0 percent last year due to benefits of certain tax planning initiatives.

Net income of equity companies was $43 million compared to $23 million last year driven by Kimberly-Clark de Mexico.

EPS increased eight percent to $1.67 per diluted share on a reported basis and increased 24 percent on an adjusted basis, driven by the 25 percent increase in operating profit versus adjusted results last year.

Consumer tissue segment

Consumer Tissue sales of $1.6 billion increased by four percent, including organic growth of seven percent, driven by price partially offset by volume. The segment posted organic growth across all major regions. Successful revenue growth management and improving service levels contributed to top-line growth.

First quarter operating profit of $240 million increased 40 percent, with organic growth and cost savings partially offset by input cost inflation, other manufacturing costs and higher marketing, research and general expenses.

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