All eyes on Procter & Gamble on eve of crucial Q1 results

The world’s biggest consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, is readying to reveal whether or not it has turned the corner with its first quarter results.

The company’s last two quarterly results abruptly ended a sustained and unbroken period of organic sales growth and is something that has shaken investor confidence in what has always been a safe house.

In line with earlier predictions that the first quarter would continue to be extremely challenging, the most current forecasts from analysts suggests that the figures will be hit hard.

Analysts predict sales will continue to fall

The consensus from analysts is that net sales for the period will come in at approximately $19.4bn - $20.4bn, compared to a figure of $20.98bn in the same period last year.

Factors such as currency exchange due to the continued strength of the dollar are expected to impact results, while sales growth in developing markets should help to counterbalance the figure.

In August the company released its quarterly figures for the period ending June 30 and net sales dropped by 11 percent, although much of this was attributed to currency effects.

Profits for last quarter down 18 percent

Disappointing sales dragged profits down 18 percent to reach $2.47bn leading P&G chairman A.G. Lafley to refer to fiscal 2009 and in particular the fourth quarter as one of the most difficult macroeconomic environments the company has faced in decades.

At the time the company said it did not expect to turn the corner any time soon either, with both analysts and P&G executives stating that conditions in the first quarter would remain extremely challenging.

P&G said it expected an organic sales decline (between 0 and minus 3 percent) which will be exacerbated by currency effects to the tune of 7 percent, leading to a sales decline of 10 percent.

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