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Cost cutting helps lift Energizer 2Q profit 9 pct

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Battery maker Energizer said Wednesday that its fiscal second-quarter net income rose 9 percent, as cost cutting helped offset nearly flat revenue.

Energizer and other disposable battery makers are facing a decline in demand with more reusable, cost-effective products on the market.

Company CEO Ward Klein said personal care sales were hurt by tough competition, while sales in its household product division, which includes batteries, fell as well. The company estimates that the global battery category declined 2 percent in volume over the past 12 weeks. Consumers are increasingly shifting to resusable batteries over disposable ones.

Net income for the three months ended March 31 rose to $84.9 million, or $1.35 per share, from $77.9 million, or $1.17 per share last year.

Earnings per share for the recent quarter got a 7-cent boost through a 5 percent reduction in the number of outstanding shares since last year.

Excluding restructuring costs, the devaluation of Venezuelan currency and an adjustment related to tax accruals, adjusted net income totaled $1.80 per share. Analysts expected $1.27 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue edged down less than 1 percent to $1.1 billion. Analysts expected $1.09 billion.

Revenue from personal care, which includes razors, Wet Ones wipes and Hawaiian Tropic sun lotion, was nearly flat at $652.6 million. Revenue form household products, including batteries, lighting and other products, fell 1.6 percent to $443.3 million.

Energizer kept its full-year guidance for adjusted net income of $6.75 to $7 per share. Analysts expect $6.81 per share.

Shares rose $1.60 to $98.19 in morning trading, closer to the high end of its 52-week range of $64.36 to $100.53.