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Colgate-Palmolive Second-Quarter Net Up

(Reuters) - Consumer products maker Colgate-Palmolive Co. said today that its second-quarter net income rose 9.6 percent as higher margins offset the effects of weak foreign currencies that led to flat sales.

The maker of Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dishwashing liquid and Hill's Science Diet pet food posted net income of $287.2 million, or 47 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with $261.9 million, or 42 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts forecast earnings of 47 cents to 48 cents a share, according to market research firm Thomson Financial/First Call, down from their expectations of 49 cents to 50 cents in early June as the economic situation in some Latin American countries deteriorated.

Revenues were about flat at $2.33 billion and would have been up 5 percent without currency weakness in places like Latin America and Europe.

In North America, which accounts for 25 percent of sales, unit volume rose 4 percent, and sales increased 3 percent. In Latin America, which accounts for 26 percent of sales, the company had volume gains of 4 percent, excluding divested businesses, while sales fell 1 percent.

Earlier this month, Colgate Chairman and Chief Executive Reuben Mark said the company expected operating profit in Latin America to be up in the second quarter and for all of 2001, despite currency problems in Argentina and other parts of the region. Operating profit in the region rose 14 percent for the second quarter.

Ralston Purina Q2 Earnings Jump on Strong Sales - PG Editor
ST. LOUIS, July 23 (Reuters) - Ralston Purina Co., the largest U.S. pet food maker, said on Monday that fiscal third-quarter net earnings rose nearly 27 percent, driven by firm sales volumes in all segments of its business and lower interest expenses.

The company, which is being bought by Swiss-based Nestle SA , reported net earnings of $77.5 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, compared with $61.1 million, or 21 cents, a year ago.

Analysts' estimates ranged from 25 cents per share to 28 cents with a consensus at 27 cents, according to market research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.

Earnings from continuing operations that excluded unusual items, such as merger-related costs, were $86.2 million, or 29 cents a diluted share. Nestle has proposed selling off some pet food brands in Spain, Greece and Italy to gain European Union approval of the acquisition.

Sales rose to $707.2 million from $668.3 million a year ago. Shares of Ralston closed at $31.14 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
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