P&G will try and sell the Duracell batteries business Reuters

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble has announced its intention to sell off its Duracell battery business after the company's profits took a massive hit.

Its earnings dropped by slightly more than a third to $20.1bn (£12.5bn, €15.9bn) in its first quarter results, which the Pantene shampoo distributor puts largely down to a one-time charge of $932m to write down the value of the Duracell business.

In spite of the write down, P&G chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, said that the business was still "very profitable", but it is looking to get shot of the brand to maximise value for the company's shareholders.

P&G said in a statement: "P&G ... is exiting the battery business in two steps. The first step was finalising an agreement to sell its interest in a China-based battery joint venture, which it accomplished in late-August. Terms of this transaction were not disclosed.

"The second step is the exit of the Duracell business. Although no decision has been made on the form of the exit, P&G's current preference is a split-off of the Duracell business into a stand-alone company."

Chairman, president, and chief executive officer, AG Lafley said: "We greatly appreciate the contributions of our Duracell employees. Since we acquired the business in 2005 as part of Gillette, Duracell has strengthened its position as the global market leader in the battery category.

"It's a business with attractive operating profit margins and a history of strong cash generation. I'm confident the business and its employees will continue to thrive as its own company."