US personal-care products giant Kimberly-Clark said Wednesday it was exiting its Huggies diaper business in much of western and central Europe, cutting up to 1,500 jobs. Kimberly-Clark Corporation announced it would close or sell five manufacturing facilities and some production would be transferred to other plants. As part of the restructuring aimed at boosting profitability, the company said it would exit its diaper business everywhere in western and central Europe, except for the Italian market. The company, whose brands include Kleenex tissues, Scott toilet paper and Kotex tampons, said it planned to sell or exit some other less profitable operations in certain European markets, notably its tissue business. The announcement came as the Dallas, Texas-based company reported a 19.7 percent jump in third-quarter net income from a year ago, to $517 million, despite a 2.5 percent decline in sales. \"The strategic changes we will be making in Europe should allow us to better focus on our best market positions and growth opportunities, improve our underlying profitability and enable more sustainable returns going forward in this part of the world,\" said Thomas Falk, chairman and chief executive.