By Dave Sebastian

 

Kimberly-Clark Corp. said it expects net sales to rise 4% to 6% this year, assuming it doesn't take a hit from potential supply-chain disruptions, as it sees strong cash flow and growth prospects.

The acquisition of Softex Indonesia could raise sales by 2%, while exited businesses in conjunction with a restructuring program could reduce sales slightly, the company said Monday. On an organic basis, the company sees sales rising 1% to 2%. It expects adjusted earnings of $7.75 a share to $8 a share, and for reported net income from equity companies to be about flat.

Kimberly-Clark said it expects to complete its 2018 restructuring program this year, anticipating charges of $2 billion to $2.1 billion before taxes, higher than the prior estimate of the high end of $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion due to pandemic-related delays and additional savings opportunities. It expects to save $540 million to $560 million in pre-tax costs by the end of the year from the program, compared with its prior target of $500 million to $550 million.

The company saved $575 million in costs and returned $2.15 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in 2020, Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Hsu said. Kimberly-Clark said it expects share repurchases of $650 million to $750 million for 2021, and its board has approved a new $5 billion share-buyback program.

"At the same time, we will continue to operate with financial discipline," Mr. Hsu said. "We expect more challenging category conditions and higher commodity costs in 2021."

For 2021, the company sees capital spending of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, including spending related to the 2018 restructuring program and other initiatives.

Shares rose 1.6% in premarket trading.

 

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 25, 2021 08:27 ET (13:27 GMT)

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