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Kimberly-Clark earned 24 percent more than year before

Kimberly-Clark Corp., consumer products manufacturer, reported Monday that it gained $453.1 million (EUR317.1 million) in net income for the third quarter – a 24 percent growth over last year - thanks to good sales and cost increase, the company said.

Sales climbed nearly 10 percent to a record $4.6 billion (EUR3.22 billion) in the quarter, up from $4.2 billion last year.

Earnings per share were $1.04 for the quarter, up from 79 cents a year ago. Without one-time costs the company paid as part of its plan to reduce some operations, the earnings per share would have been $1.07 - a penny higher than what was expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

The Dallas-based company raised its guidance for the year to $4.23 to $4.25 per share, putting on the high end of guidance it offered investors earlier in the year.

"We're focused on driving our targeted growth initiatives and continually improving our capabilities and cost effectiveness," said Chairman and Chief Executive Thomas J. Falk in a written statement.

The company said higher sales, helped by volume growth and favorable currency exchanges, allowed the company to generate higher profits despite about $70 million (EUR49 million) in inflation costs, mostly from fiber and other materials costs.

Those inflation costs were offset in part by reductions the company was able to get as it moved to streamline manufacturing and administrative operations in North America and Europe. That reduction strategy began in 2005.

For the first nine months of the year, net income was $1.37 billion (EUR960 million), or $3.03 a share, on revenue of $13.5 billion (EUR9.45 billion). That compared with profit of $1.02 billion (EUR710 million), or $2.21 a share, on revenue of $12.4 billion (EUR8.68 billion) in 2006.

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