Kimberly-Clark Corp has reported quarterly profit that missed Wall Street estimates, as the Kleenex-tissues maker continued to struggle with rising raw materials costs and a strong US dollar.
The company said it paid $215 million (€189.1 million) more in raw material costs, including $115 million (€101.2 million) for pulp, a major ingredient in tissues, diapers and sanitary pads.
The higher costs drove net income down 33% to $411 million (€361.5 million), or $1.18 per share.
For 2019, Kimberly-Clark forecast net sales to decrease 1% - 2%.
"We expect the environment in 2019 will remain challenging, although somewhat better than in 2018," chief executive officer Mike Hsu said in a statement.
"In this environment, our teams will continue to execute our strategies for long-term success. We are targeting to deliver a solid operating plan, with higher organic sales growth compared to 2018 and improved margins despite expectations for significant headwinds from commodities and currencies. We also expect to return substantial cash to shareholders."
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.60 per share in the fourth quarter ended 31 December, 5 cents lower than analysts' estimate, according to IBES Refinitiv.
Net sales for the quarter was $4.57 billion (€4 billion), beating analysts' expectation of $4.45 billion (€3.9 billion).