P&G beats estimates with second-quarter profit

, Bloomberg

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Procter Gamble

Procter & Gamble Co., whose chief executive officer is under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman, raised its 2013 earnings forecast after gaining U.S. market share and posting quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates.

Net income more than doubled to $4.06 billion, or $1.39 a share, in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, Cincinnati-based P&G said Friday in a statement. Excluding some items, profit of $1.22 a share topped the $1.11 average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The results underscore CEO Bob McDonald's ability to gain market share after putting more emphasis on leading brands while reducing expenses, cutting jobs and consolidating local suppliers. The executive has been focusing on his turnaround plan while Ackman, who took a stake in P&G last year, has pushed to replace him.

"There are signs that the company is improving — slowly — but that momentum needs to continue going forward for discontent to evaporate," said Ali Dibadj, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "It's been a long period of underperformance."

P&G shares gained 1.8 percent last year compared with a 13 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

The company raised and narrowed its annual profit forecast, excluding some items, to a range of $3.97 to $4.07 a share, from $3.80 to $4. Analysts predicted $3.98, on average.

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