Newell Rubbermaid Q4 sales beat expectations

ATLANTA — Newell Rubbermaid reported that net sales in the fourth quarter were $1.52 billion, an increase of 1.6% compared with the prior year. Sales growth was largely attributable to the tools, baby and parenting and writing segments and to robust growth in Latin America, the company said.

“We are pleased with our quarterly and full year 2012 performance,” said president and CEO Michael Polk . “Our solid fourth quarter financial results represent the sixth consecutive quarter of consistent delivery in line with or better than expectations. Full year normalized EPS and operating cash flow both came in above the high end of our guidance range. We increased core sales by 2.2%, a sequential improvement versus last year, and a solid outcome in the face of tough economic conditions in Europe and challenges in our Décor business. Our Win Bigger brands have healthy share momentum and we are generating strong core sales growth in emerging markets, particularly in Latin America. We also returned significant levels of cash to shareholders through our dividend, which nearly doubled in 2012 to the current annualized rate of $0.60, and our ongoing share repurchase program.”

Net income, as reported, was $101.9 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter. This compares with $80.4 million, or 27 cents per diluted s