NEW YORK -- Procter & Gamble Co., the world's largest consumer-products company, reported fiscal third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, helped by market-share gains in the U.S.
Net income in the period ended March 31 rose 6.4 percent to $2.56 billion, or 88 cents a share, from $2.41 billion, or 82 cents, a year earlier, the Cincinnati-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Excluding some items, profit was 99 cents. Analysts projected 96 cents, the average of 23 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Chief Executive Officer Bob McDonald, under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman, has been reducing expenses and consolidating suppliers while working to boost market share in the company's leading brands, including Gillette razors and Tide detergent. Ackman, who has sought to replace McDonald, bought a $1.8 billion stake in P&G last year after the CEO began a turnaround program to cut $10 billion in costs through 2016.
"After years of financial and share price underperformance, the 'Tide' is turning," Bill Schmitz, an analyst at Deutsche Bank in Greenwich, Conn., wrote in an April 15 report.
P&G shares had advanced 22 percent this year compared with an 11 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
Net sales rose 2 percent to $20.6 billion, trailing the $20.7 billion average of analysts' estimates.