Tissue and diaper maker Kimberly-Clark Corp., squeezed between rising costs for raw materials and relatively flat prices on store shelves, said that fourth-quarter earnings tumbled 17%. Fourth-quarter profit declined to $371.1 million. Sales edged up 3% to $4 billion, but fell short of analysts’ prediction of $4.07 billion.
Kimberly-Clark said costs rose $400 million in 2005, about twice as much as it had expected. Chairman and chief executive Thomas Falk said the company expects to face continued inflationary pressures but expects to save up to $250 million through various cost-cutting moves.