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Alberto-Culver Quarterly Profit Up

Hair care, cosmetics and household products company Alberto-Culver Co. said Thursday its fiscal second-quarter profit rose nearly 16 percent thanks to the retail launch of its Nexxus brand and strong sales of its Tresemme hair care items.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company, which also owns the St. Ives Swiss Formula brand, earned $56.9 million, or 61 cents per share, up from $49.1 million, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. The most recent results included expenses of a penny per share for transaction costs after a failed merger deal during the quarter.

Sales rose 7 percent to $946.8 million from last year's $884.1 million.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 60 cents a share on sales of $943.6 million, according to a poll by Thomson Financial. Both the quarter's results and the estimates include stock options costs.

Earlier this month, the company withdrew its offer to buy Regis Corp., the world's biggest hair salon owner and the owner of Supercuts, earlier this month. The complex takeover deal would have involved spinning off Alberto's Sally Beauty Supply Stores and selling it to Regis.

As a result of a $50 million break up fee from the failed transaction, Alberto-Culver said it will take third-quarter charge of $31.3 million.

The company also said it will raise its annual dividend 13 percent to 52 cents from 46 cents, paid quarterly at 13 cents per share. The dividend will be paid May 19 to shareholders of record on May 8.

Shares fell 37 cents to $45.79 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.