ST. LOUIS — Energizer Holdings moved into the black in its fiscal second quarter, reporting earnings of $5.6 million, compared with a pro forma loss of $20.2 million in the year-ago three months.
A sales boost of 5 percent in the second quarter was attributed to increased volumes in North America, compared with last year's low, post-Y2K demand. Sales reached $351.9 million in the second quarter, up from a pro forma $335.4 million in the year-ago second quarter.
Sales in North America climbed about 18 percent to $188.8 million in the second quarter, compared with $160.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Volume increases were partially offset by unfavorable pricing and product mix, reflecting higher promotional spending.
Operating profit before unusual items and amortization in North America hit $37.8 million, up about 57 percent from the $24.3 million recorded in the same three months in 2000. Gross profit was up $18 million, but this was partially offset by increased advertising and promotion expenses and other costs.
Alkaline batteries — by far the company's largest segment — led the sales charge at Energizer, accounting for $218 million during the second quarter, a 16 percent increase above the $188.3 million recorded the previous year.
For the six months, North American segment net sales dropped 11 percent to $517.2 million, down from $581.9 million the previous year. Segment profit dropped to $128.7 million in the six months, down about 24 percent from the $170 million rung up in the same six months the previous year.
Energizer's retail market share increased 20 basis points during the second quarter, reaching 32.3 percent. For the 52-week period ended March 31, the company's market share reached 33.1 percent, a 100-basis-point increase. Total alkaline battery category sales increased 8.8 percent in the second quarter, compared to the year-ago three months.
Overall net sales for the six months decreased about 9 percent to $910.6 million, compared with $1 billion in the year-ago six months. Earnings from continuing operations dropped about 25 percent for the six months to $59.8 million, down from $79.3 million the previous year. Last year's figure excludes after-tax costs related to a spin-off and the loss of the disposition of an affiliate.