Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Oct 23, 2017 • 10:00 am ET


Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB) Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Tom Falk

Personal Care volumes were off 1%. In the infant and child care mega category, our volumes were down mid-single digits in a continued challenging environment. Now, we expect better performance in the fourth quarter as comparisons ease and we have more promotion and other brand activities planned. Volumes increased high single-digits in Adult Care in the third quarter. Our Poise and Depend brands benefited from category growth from increased marketing and promotion support and from some of the innovations that we've launched in -- behind these two brands over the last 12 months.

Consumer Tissue volumes in North America increased by 5% and rebounded nicely following a difficult first half of the year. We benefited from a stronger promotional calendar from good merchandising execution and our comparison to a soft performance in the year ago period.

Turning now to our K-C Professional business in North America. Organic sales rose 2% in the quarter. That was driven by volume growth of 3%. Volumes were up in all major product categories as our team is executing its growth strategies well in a relatively sluggish market.

Switching to developed markets outside of North America. Organic sales were down 3% in the third quarter. All of that decline was driven by South Korea, including in diapers, where category conditions are challenging as a result of a significant decline in the birthrate in that country.

Moving to developing and emerging markets. Organic sales were up 3% in the third quarter, including volume growth of 4%. Looking at some of our key markets there. In Brazil, organic sales in Personal Care were similar year-on-year. Our volumes continue to grow with benefits from innovation across the portfolio. Selling prices came down, though, as we adjusted to the stronger Brazilian real and competitive activity.

In China, organic sales in Personal Care were up mid-single digits with strong double-digit growth in feminine care. Our Kotex brand in China is benefiting from product innovation and our focus on the premium end of the market. Organic sales in diapers in China were similar year-on-year. Product mix improved while volumes and selling prices were down as comparisons were impacted by very strong growth last year and competitive activity this year. Diaper pricing continues to be less negative this year than it was last year. And going forward, we will continue to focus on driving winning product solutions on Huggies in China.

In Argentina, organic sales in personal care were up strong double digits, driven by higher selling prices. Huggies diaper volumes continue to grow somewhat even though the category demand in Argentina is still down.

And then lastly, in Eastern Europe, organic sales in Personal Care increased high-single digits. Our volume momentum continues in this part of the world as we achieved another double-digit increase this quarter on both Huggies and Kotex. Selling prices declined in Russia and Eastern Europe, mostly reflecting price rollbacks following the strengthening of the Russian ruble.

I'd also like to mention at the end of the third