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By John Kell
October 24, 2014

Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble (PG) on Friday reported their fiscal first quarter earnings and indicated that it intends to shed its Duracell brand. P&G also posted a 34% decline in fiscal first-quarter net income, mostly due to a charge to write down the value of the battery business to be more reflective of the value it will receive from the sale of a China-based joint venture.

What you need to know: The maker of Gillette razors and Crest toothpaste is delivering on its promise to slim down its product slate. The company’s exit from the Duracell business will occur in two steps. First, it finalized an agreement to sell its interest in a China-battery joint venture, a deal that occurred in late August. Terms of that transaction weren’t disclosed, though P&G on Friday said it booked a charge of $932 million, which was related to that deal.

The second step hasn’t been finalized, though P&G is hoping to split off the Duracell business into a stand-alone company. In a split off, P&G shareholders would be given the option of exchanging some, none or all of their P&G shares for stock in the newly formed Duracell company. P&G will consider alternatives, including a spin-off, divestiture or other offer, if they generated equal or better value. The timeline for the proposed spin-off is still unclear.

The big number: P&G reported overall net sales of $20.79 billion for the quarter ended September 30, a tad lower than last year’s total but slightly above the $20.76 billion projected by analysts. The company’s core profit, which excludes charges, was $1.07 per share and matched Wall Street’s expectations.

The company’s sales performance was fairly choppy. Health care sales jumped 6% while baby, feminine and family care sales rose 1%. Sales declined for grooming, fabric care and home care, and the beauty, hair and personal care business segments.

What you might have missed: Diving back into the Duracell divestiture news, P&G this summer told investors that it would shed up to 100 brands, saying it preferred to focus on 70 to 80 brands that were responsible for 90% of the company’s recent sales and 95% of profit. P&G has owned Duracell since 2005, when it bought Gillette in a blockbuster $57 billion deal. Duracell’s sales aren’t broken out in P&G’s financial reports, though it is considered a “billion dollar brand” in P&G’s fabric care and home care segment. That segment, which also includes Dawn, Gain, Tide and other brands, makes up about 32% of P&G’s total sales.

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