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Strong dollar, weak demand weigh on Kimberly-Clark forecast

Kimberly-Clark forecast a decline in net sales for 2015 due to a stronger dollar and weaker demand for its core products such as Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers in North America.

Kimberly-Clark's shares were down nearly 5 percent at $113.50 in premarket trading.

The surging U.S. currency has been eating into sales of companies with big overseas businesses, crimping demand for U.S. exports and reducing the value of overseas sales when they are translated back into U.S. dollars.

The dollar rose nearly 13 percent in 2014, its biggest yearly gain since 1997, when measured against a basket of major currencies.

Kimberly-Clark, which gets about half of its revenue from international sales, said it expects the stronger dollar to reduce revenue by 8-9 percent in 2015.

The company forecast a 3-6 percent fall in net sales and adjusted earnings per share of $5.60-$5.80 for the year.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $6.00 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales in the personal care business, Kimberly-Clark's biggest, fell 2 percent in North America in the fourth quarter as the company lost market share to Pampers maker Procter and Gamble Co.

Net loss attributable to the company was $83 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $539 million, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.

As a result of a change in the Venezuela currency exchange rate, Kimberly-Clark recorded a charge of $462 million in the quarter.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.35 per share from continuing operations, while sales fell 1.4 percent to $4.83 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.37 per share on revenue of $4.91 billion.