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Duracell Battery Sales Flat, Earnings Off

11/23/2005 12:46:00 PM Eastern

Washington — Sales in the Duracell battery segment at Gillette were flat in the third quarter, coming in at $912 million, compared with a very strong year-ago three months, when sales increased 13 percent as a result of several hurricanes in densely populated areas in the United States.

Sales growth included a 1 percent benefit from favorable foreign exchange and a negative 2 percent mix impact driven by increased sales of large-pack battery products.

Earnings before income taxes for the Duracell business were off 6 percent at $153 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Market expenses were a key reason for the earnings decline.

In North America, Duracell’s market share of general purpose batteries increased 2.1 points to 47.9 percent, said the company — the highest level in two years, it said. However, battery sales were down single digits due to the high consumption levels in the third quarter of last year.

Gillette and its Duracell battery business were purchased by Procter & Gamble (P&G), with the acquisition closing Oct. 1. Gillette results were not included in P&G’s recent quarterly report because of a Sept. 30 cutoff.

Some sketchy details of Gillette’s third quarter were provided by P&G in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Nov. 22.

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