Kimberly-Clark posts better-than-expected first quarter earnings

Kimberly-Clark Corp. posted a bigger-than-expected increase in quarterly profit Friday as the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers trimmed costs and saw growth overseas mitigate some weakness in the United States. First-quarter profits were at $468 million.

The company’s shares rose 2 percent to $76.75 in premarket trade.

Kimberly-Clark, whose largest plant is located in Beech Island and produces Kleenex and Cottonelle brand tissues and Huggies diaper products, stood by its forecast for the year despite the better-than-expected quarter. The company is cutting costs but is also increasing its spending on marketing as it tries to stem the decline in the number of diapers and training pants it sells and get shoppers to buy more of its other goods.

Kimberly-Clark still expects to earn $5 to $5.15 per share this year on an adjusted basis, which excludes restructuring costs. Its sales are forecast to be from flat to up 1 percent.

The Beech Island plant employs nearly 1,200 people and has recently expanded its production line.