P&G shows turnaround taking hold with results, outlook

CINCINNATI, Fri Jan 25, 2013 — Procter & Gamble Co.’s (PG.N) quarterly profit soared past expectations as the world’s largest household products maker used higher prices and new products to drive sales growth, the strongest indication yet that turnaround efforts are paying off.

The results, along with improved forecasts for the fiscal year, follow months of criticism from analysts and most notably from activist investor William Ackman, who blamed P&G’s top brass, led by Chairman and CEO Bob McDonald, for earlier missteps.

Shares of P&G, the maker of Pampers diapers and Gillette razors and a component of the Dow Jones industrial average jumped to $71.84 in premarket trading from Thursday’s close of $70.42.

The results, with profit and sales ahead of analysts’ expectations, come after months of P&G trying to reignite growth in sluggish markets such as the United States while also expanding in emerging markets, where it typically sells lower-priced merchandise.

Back in April 2012, analysts took McDonald to task on a tense conference call after P&G cut its outlook. That summer, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management bought the company’s shares and began pushing for more change.

Profit has exceeded analysts’ expectations every quarter since, helped by new products such as Tide Pods single-dose laundry detergent.