By  on October 6, 2006

NEW YORK – Coty Inc. has served notice that it intends to climb into the elite circle of global beauty companies by doubling its size by 2010 and to rank among the world’s top five players.

This isn’t any idle threat. In the last five years, since Bernd Beetz took the helm as chief executive officer, the company has already doubled in size. Coty is now a $2.9 billion dollar (net) company with 40 brands, with 55 percent of that figure coming from prestige products. While a lion’s share of Coty’s growth since Beetz took the helm in 2001 has come from celebrity fragrances —a category which Coty put back on the map with its launch of Glow by Jennifer Lopez in 2001 — Beetz made it clear during a Friday morning press conference here that strategies to grow the company’s color cosmetics and skin care businesses globally are also front of mind.

“We were number 31 in size in 2001 and we are number eight now,” said Beetz, referring to total business including color cosmetics and skin care.He noted that the company’s credo is innovate or die. “We believe we will be number five worldwide by 2010.”

While some have speculated that Coty may be in talks to acquire Revlon or Elizabeth Arden, he did not directly address the rumors.

“We have a very clear strategy for each category,” he said. “Our main focus is to grow this way, but we would consider the right acquisitions.” Coty is also rumored to be working with actress Lindsay Lohan on a new fragrance brand, which he declined to comment on. But Beetz isn’t ruling any of them out for the future.

Certainly, Beetz has been no stranger to large brand acquisitions since joining Coty: in May 2005, the company acquired Unilever Cosmetics International’s global prestige fragrance businesses, including the Calvin Klein, Vera Wang and Nautica licenses, for an estimated $800 million.

In May 2003, Coty acquired a large share of the American Designer Fragrances division of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, including the Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole fragrance licenses, for an estimated $50 million. In February, Coty also signed a strategic alliance with Puig USA to distribute its top prestige scents in North America.It has also been rumored that Coty is preparing for an initial public offering in the not-too-distant future, a rumor reinforced by the press conference itself — the first by Beetz since joining Coty —as well as the announcement of a charitable partnership with DKMS, the world’s largest private blood marrow donor foundation. The cause is close to the company’s heart, as Coty chairman Peter Harf lost his wife to leukemia.

For complete coverage, see Monday's issue of WWD.

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