Kimberly-Clark reported its 2020 first quarter financial results on Wednesday, showing that sales at its workplace essentials unit reversed a negative Q4 2019 by posting a solid increase in year-over-year sales amid effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the later part of the period.
Q1 sales at Kimberly-Clark Professional (KCP) totaled $800 million, up 4 percent year-over-year (YoY) as volumes increased 4 percent, net selling prices rose 2 percent and product mix improved 1 percent. KCP’s operating profit of $181 million jumped 21 percent YoY, as results benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings and lower input costs.
KCP Q1 sales increased 5 percent YoY in North America and ticked up 2 percent in developing and emerging markets. Sales in developed markets outside North America increased 5 percent.
Kimberly-Clark said KCP is likely to face volume declines starting in Q2 until economic conditions return to more normal levels. The company noted the segment’s Q1 volume increase was driven by economic shock as much of the population stayed home amid COVID-19 safety measures, and that the company has seen early signs of demand softness in April.
As a whole, Kimberly-Clark had total Q1 sales of $5.0 billion, up 8 percent YoY, with organic sales up 11 percent. Sales in North America increased 10 percent, helped by a 13 percent sales increase from the company’s Consumer Tissue segment ($1.7 billion total sales). KC’s largest segment, Personal Care, saw $2.4 billion sales increase 6 percent YoY.
Additionally Wednesday, KCP announced a new scholarship program to help smaller cleaning organizations provide critical training on infectious disease prevention and control measures for their employees. The program is in collaboration with ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA.
The GBAC Fundamentals Online Course is focused on prevention, response and control measures for biohazards in the workplace – with a special emphasis on infection and contamination control measures for infectious disease outbreak situations such as SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19.
Through Kimberly-Clark Professional's $500,000 donation, more than 10,000 cleaning professionals across the globe will be able to complete the GBAC Fundamentals online course at no cost. Smaller businesses, who may not have otherwise been able to fund this training for their employees, are given priority placement into the program.
The program has a goal of 50 percent of scholarships going to females and will support a mentorship program in partnership with the ISSA Hygieia Network, the first women's network for the global cleaning community dedicated to the advancement of women in the cleaning industry.