OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Clorox Co. said Tuesday its fiscal third-quarter profit fell 13 percent, as higher costs for commodities and manufacturing offset an increase in revenue.
The company also issued fiscal 2013 guidance below expectations, and shares fell 4.5 percent in morning trading.
The maker of Glad trash bags, Clorox bleach and other household products said net income for the three months ended March 31 fell to $132 million, or $1.01 per share. That compares with net income of $151 million, or $1.09 per share, last year.
Analysts, on average, expected higher net income of $1.03 per share, according to data provider FactSet.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $1.4 billion from $1.3 billion last year. Analysts expected $1.35 billion in revenue, on average. Volume rose 4 percent. Excluding acquisitions, volume rose 2 percent and revenue rose 6 percent.
Gross margin — the amount of a dollar in revenue a company actually keeps — declined in the quarter due to high costs for raw materials like pulp, packaging and fuel, as well as higher costs for manufacturing and logistics. In addition, margins were hurt by retailers adding merchandising support for larger, lower priced products, which tend to have lower margins. Those factors were partly offset by cost cuts and higher selling prices.
"Margin results were below expectations and remain an area of focus," said CEO Don Knauss. "We expect margins to begin stabilizing next fiscal year.
Clorox, based in Oakland, Calif., now expects revenue to grow 4 percent in fiscal 2012, which ends in June. That implies revenue of $5.44 billion, from a prior prediction of 2 percent to 4 percent growth. The company cited sales improvement in the U.S., price increases and retailer merchandising for the stronger outlook. Analysts expect revenue of $5.41 billion, on average.
It reiterated guidance of $4 to $4.10 per share for the fiscal year. Wall Street has forecast $4.08 per share, on average, with estimates ranging from $4.03 to $4.17.
For the fourth quarter, it expects revenue will grow, but less than the 7 percent growth in the third quarter.
In fiscal 2013, Clorox expects net income of $4.20 to $4.35 per share, on revenue growth of 2 percent to 4 percent. Analysts expect net income of $4.40 per share, on average, with estimates ranging from $4.27 to $4.70 per share.
Shares fell $3.18, or 4.5 percent, to $66.84 in late morning trading. The stock had been up 5 percent since the beginning of the year.