By and  on January 31, 2008

NEW YORK — Fragrance supplier International Flavors & Fragrances said Wednesday that fourth-quarter profits slipped 1.6 percent on higher interest expenses.

Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 were $47.2 million, or 58 cents a diluted share, from almost $48 million, or 53 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding nonrecurring items such as restructuring charges, disposition of assets and a tax benefit, earnings per share for the fourth quarter were 53 cents, compared with 45 cents a year ago. Wall Street analysts expected earnings per share of 54 cents, according to Yahoo Finance.

IFF's quarterly sales increased by 7.6 percent to $553.5 million, from $514.3 million a year ago.

Robert M. Amen, chairman and chief executive officer, described the quarter as "strong," citing solid performance within the firm's flavors business, which grew 16 percent to $253 million. Within the fragrance business, however, which grew by 2 percent to $300 million, fine fragrance and beauty care experienced weakness in North America and Europe.

Last year "was a tough year for our fragrance [business] after a superb 2006," Amen said. "Fine [fragrance] and beauty [care] performed well until the fourth quarter, [which] ended 15 consecutive quarters of growth for the fine [fragrance] business." In total, fine fragrance and beauty care sales were down 2 percent for the quarter.

There was strength in the fragrance business in Asia, where sales rose 12 percent during the fourth quarter, and in Latin America, where 4 percent growth in fine fragrance and beauty care sales offset slight declines in functional fragrance and ingredient sales.

Yearly profits increased 9.1 percent to $247.1 million from $226.5 million in 2006.

IFF posted annual earnings per share of $2.86 last year, a 13.7 percent rise from $2.48 in 2006. Adjusted earnings per share for the full year were $2.66 compared with adjusted earnings per share of $2.32 in 2006, a 14.7 percent increase.

Annual sales neared $2.28 billion, an 8.6 percent rise from $2.1 billion in 2006 on fragrance sales that grew 6 percent to $1.27 billion.

Shares of IFF traded down Wednesday, closing at $39.48, a decrease of $4.02, or 9.24 percent.
— Matthew W. EvansCoco Ribbon Enters Beauty

LONDON — Coco Ribbon is bringing its boudoir touch to bathrooms.

The luxury lifestyle brand has introduced a bath and body line dubbed CR by Cocoribbon. The five-unit collection is meant to round out the brand's offerings, which include apparel, chandeliers, artwork, furniture, lingerie and jewelry.

"We create all our Coco Ribbon products to be playful, unique and chic," said Alison Chow, who, with her business partner, Sophie Oliver, founded the brand in 2002. "Our philosophy for this range is a little bit of luxury every day."

All products in the beauty line feature a flower complex made with extracts of lotus, Chinese rose, black orchid and iris. The blend is said to soothe and soften skin to minimize the effects of free radical damage. Other ingredients include sweet almond oil, coconut oil and vitamin E.

The lineup comprises Little Miracle Balm, Heaven for Hands, Dream Body Cream, Angel Skin Bath Oil and Angel Skin Scrub. Prices range from 22 pounds, or $43.65 at current exchange, for a 50-ml. tube of hand cream to 40 pounds, or $79.37, for a 250-ml. jar of body scrub.

Distribution of CR by Cocoribbon includes the brand's Notting Hill boutique, Selfridges and Fenwick department stores, as well as a handful of independent retailers here. International launch plans have yet to be confirmed. Industry sources estimate the brand could generate retail sales of about 300,000 pounds, or $595,293, in its first year.
— Lana Rose Silva

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