January 31, 2018 / 12:37 PM / 10 months ago

Tupperware's forecast disappoints, shares sink

(Reuters) - Tupperware Brands Corp (TUP.N) took a big charge in its fourth quarter that wiped out profits and said it expects current-quarter to be dented by weak demand in Indonesia, India and North America, sending its shares down 9.4 percent.

The storage container maker’s first-quarter sales growth forecast missed Street’s estimates due to a planned closure of a factory that serves Europe.

The downbeat forecasts cast a shadow on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings, which beat estimates on strong demand in Brazil and Mexico.

Orlando, Florida-based Tupperware said recent changes in the U.S. tax law resulted in a $375 million charge in its fourth quarter, leading to a $326.5 million net loss from a net income of $79 million a year earlier.

Excluding items, however, the company earned $1.59 per share, nine cents ahead of market estimate.

Tupperware reported a surprise 2 percent drop in sales to $588.6 million, while analysts had expected a rise of 0.7 percent to $605.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Tupperware’s shares were down 9 percent at $58.04, marking their worst one-day drop since July 26, 2017.

The direct-selling company, which banks on homemakers to sell its products, said average ‘active sellers’ dipped 3 percent in the quarter, mainly due to the sale of its Beauticontrol beauty business in December.

Tupperware said it expected sales to expand between 1 percent and 3 percent in the first quarter ending March 31, compared with analysts’ estimate of a 3.7 percent growth.

The company said in October it planned to shutter a manufacturing and supply chain plant in France, with the brunt of the impact expected in January.

Adjusted earnings for the first quarter are expected to be between $1.01 and $1.06 per share, the company said, lower than analysts’ average estimate of $1.11, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting by Karina Dsouza and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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