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Colgate-Palmolive 1Q revenue tops expectations

NEW YORK (AP) -- Colgate-Palmolive's net income fell 16 percent in the first quarter, which was anticipated on Wall Street, as the company dealt with a tumultuous economic situation in Venezuela.

Consumer products companies have been hit hard by currency devaluations in a number of emerging economies, which can cut into the value of sales. The volatile currency situation can take a big toll on companies like Colgate, which has looked to offset stagnant sales in developed markets with growth in emerging markets. The majority of Colgate-Palmolive's business is now done overseas.

Colgate's revenue topped expectations and sales rose in North America, Europe and in the South Pacific-Asia region. Yet sales in Latin America — which comprises the biggest component of total revenue at 27 percent of sales — fell 5 percent. Latin America was stung by foreign currency fluctuations.

Africa/Eurasia sales edged down slightly.

The make of brands like Softsoap, Speed Stick and its namesake toothpaste — earned $388 million, or 42 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. That compares with $460 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

Colgate-Palmolive said Friday that the latest quarter included a charge of 19 cents per share tied to a recalculating of the Venezuelan balance sheet. That follows several changes to the country's foreign exchange system enacted by its government in the first quarter. The period also included a charge of 7 cents per share for restructuring and costs related to the sale of Mexican land.

Stripping those items out, earnings were 68 cents per share, which was in line with projections from analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue climbed slightly to $4.33 billion from $4.32 billion, coming in just ahead of Wall Street's estimate of $4.32 billion.

The company anticipates its full-year earnings per share will increase 4 percent to 5 percent on a dollar basis and will rise at a double-digit percentage rate on a currency neutral basis.

Shares of Colgate-Palmolive Co., rose 14 cents to $66.57 before at the market open.