Newell Rubbermaid Net Gains 4.8 Percent in First Quarter

ATLANTA-Improvements in sales and margins helped Newell Rubbermaid to a 4.8 percent pickup in net income in its first quarter, to $79.3 million.

The bottom line excluded the net tax impact of one-time items such as restructuring-related costs and restructuring costs incurred with the company's European Transformation Plan and Project Renewal. Adding in these factors, Newell Rubbermaid's first-quarter net rose 12 percent to $97.1 million. The European Transformation Plan, begun nearly two years ago, is aimed at streamlining the company's European business structure. Project Renewal, which went into effect on Jan. 1, consolidated Newell Rubbermaid's three operating units into two, Newell Consumer and Newell Professional, and reduced the company's 13 global business units to nine.

Net sales in the quarter, which ended on March 31, rose 4.6 percent to $1.3 billion, driven by strong performances from the Newell Professional and Baby & Parenting Essentials segments, and continued growth in emerging markets. Gross margin picked up 20 basis points to 38.3 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 5.2 percent in dollars and 40 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 28 percent.

Michael Polk, Newell Rubbermaid's president and CEO, said the company's first-quarter performance "represents a positive step towards our full-year guidance."

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