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Unilever Units Post Double-Digit Rise In ’93

LONDON -- Unilever PLC said Tuesday its prestige fragrance and skin care operations, which include Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Elizabeth Arden, had double-digit increases in operating profits last year.<BR><BR>Unilever did not break out results for its...

LONDON — Unilever PLC said Tuesday its prestige fragrance and skin care operations, which include Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Elizabeth Arden, had double-digit increases in operating profits last year.

Unilever did not break out results for its prestige businesses, but Sir Michael Perry, Unilever chairman, said those operations accounted for about a third of operating profits generated by the personal products division and about 20 to 25 percent of sales.

The personal products division reported an 8 percent increase in operating profits to $620.1 million (419 million pounds at current exchange rates) on a 9.6 percent rise in sales to $5.88 billion (3.98 billion pounds) in the year ended Dec. 31.

This compares with operating profits of 385 million pounds on sales of 3.6 billion pounds in 1992.

Personal products accounted for about 17 percent of Unilever’s operating profits and 14 percent of sales last year.

Perry’s comments indicate the prestige segment of personal products had operating profits of about $204 million (138 million pounds) on sales of about $1.35 billion (915 million pounds) in 1993.

Perry said the prestige operations had strong growth in both the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., sales of Arden’s Ceramides skin care range are now more than $100 million.

Ceramide sales worldwide grew by 20 percent, helped by the launch of Ceramide Cream last year.

In the mass market sector, Chesebrough Pond’s, another Unilever subsidiary, made a strong recovery as a result of further growth by the Pond’s brand, which posted increases of 20 percent worldwide.

Personal products was the group’s strongest performer in Europe, led by the prestige sector, Perry said. Valentino’s Vendetta men’s and women’s fragrances were rolled out in Europe and Klein expanded into the French market with the launch of Eternity for men and women.

Overall, Unilever reported almost-flat net profits of $1.9 billion (1.29 billion pounds) on a 12.8 percent rise in sales to $41.2 billion (27.86 billion pounds) in 1993.

This compares with net profits of 1.29 billion pounds on sales of 24.7 billion pounds in 1992.

Profits were reduced by exceptional charges totaling $725.2 million (490 million pounds) to cover restructuring in North America and Europe. Unilever plans to cut 7,500 jobs worldwide in the next three years, mainly in its detergents and foods businesses.