TOKYO — Kanebo said it secured additional loans of up to 50 billion yen, or $455 million, from its lenders, led by Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.

The struggling cosmetics and textiles giant, with interest-bearing liabilities of about $5 billion, is planning to revitalize itself with support from the government’s Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan (IRCJ). The unguaranteed loans are to allow it to pay its suppliers while it waits for a decision by IRCJ on a restructuring plan.

On the first creditor’s meeting heldMarch 1, Kanebo’s 94 lenders agreed not to call on their outstanding loans to until May 6, the next scheduled creditors’ meeting, according to the local press.

Kanebo will spin off its cosmetics business including Kanebo’s sales firm with borrowings by May, with more than 50 percent of capital investment from IRCJ and the rest from Kanebo. Kanebo was once in talks with Kao, the nation’s largest household products manufacturer, to sell its cosmetics division to Kao, but negotiations came to an end in February when the firm faced difficulties with its labor union, according toKanebo.

Kanebo said in a statement on Feb. 26 that the eight members of its executive committee, including chairman and president Takashi Hoashi, expressed their intention to resign to take responsibilities of management at the extraordinary stockholder’s meeting at the end of March.

— Koji Hirano



McDonald Consulting Zirh

NEW YORK — Camille McDonald, former president of the U.S. divisions of Parfums Givenchy Inc., Guerlain Inc. and the fledgling American Designer Fragrances Division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has joined Zirh International Corp, a division of Shiseido International Corp, as a consultant, according to Brian Robinson, president of Zirh.

McDonald will be responsible for advising the company on strategic and tactical marketing issues, brand positioning and business development, the company said.

“Given Camille’s proven track record in developing and marketing fragrance and skin care products, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with her,” Robinson said. “Based on our entrepreneurial environment and multibrand strategy, there are significant similarities between Zirh and American Designer Fragrances. A collaboration with Camille will help to maximize brand equity across our portfolio.”Robinson’s reference toAmerican Designer Fragrances apparently was an allusion to McDonald’s performance in launching fragrances by Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole.

Oriflame’s Public Plans

COPENHAGEN — Swedish cosmetics group Oriflame is likely to list on the Stockholm Bourse within a matter of weeks, according to sources close to the deal. Premarketing for an initial public offering has begun, and if it proves successful the listing could take place in early April, the sources said.

Oriflame, which is present in more than 50 countries worldwide, had global sales of $794.4 million, or 652 million euros at the latest exchange rates, in 2003, up 20 percent year-on-year. The company derives the bulk of its revenue from direct sales through almost 1.4 million agents. It’s expected that Oriflame will offer shares worth some $670.12 million (550 million euros), or around 40 percent of the estimated value of its equity.

The two main shareholders in Oriflame are the Jochnick family, which founded the company, and Industri Kapital, a Nordic private equity group, each with 41 percent of Oriflame stock. Industri Kapital says it’s closely monitoring the prospects for an IPO. “We are looking at the possibility of a listing,” Christian Salamon, a Stockholm-based director of Industri Kapital told WWD. “We’re now at a point where it could become reality,” he said. Earlier Oriflame shareholders had considered the possibility of a sale to a strategic investor, but a flotation is now likely to be the preferred option, Salamon said.

Oriflame was taken private in 1999 and has gone through a major commercial overhaul since then, Salamon said. “Since 1999 sales have grown at an annual clip of 18 percent, and the operating result has grown by 25 to 30 percent a year,” he said. Oriflame’s largest markets are in Central and Eastern Europe, which contributes more than two-thirds of its sales and profits. Last year Oriflame’s sales in the former Soviet Union grew by more than 40 percent to around $365.5 million, or 300 million euros.

— Poul Funder Larsen

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