PARIS — Boosted by its acquisition of Quest, fragrance and flavors supplier Givaudan announced first-quarter sales of 890 million Swiss francs, or $722 million at average exchange, up 18 percent (or 19.8 percent in local currencies) year-on-year.

The Varnier, Switzerland-based firm said in a statement that the hike reflects good organic growth and the consolidation of Quest's sales as of March. As reported, Givaudan announced it would acquire Quest from Imperial Chemical Industries plc late last year in a deal valued at 1.2 billion pounds, or $2.21 billion at average yearly exchange.

Had Quest been consolidated since Jan. 1, 2006, consolidated first-quarter sales would have reached 1.13 billion Swiss francs, or $912 million, representing growth of 4 percent (or 5.3 percent in local currencies).

In the first quarter, Givaudan's fragrance sales rose 28 percent to 401.3 million Swiss francs, or $325 million. Had Quest's fragrance business been consolidated since the beginning of this year, Givaudan's sales would have grown 8 percent, to 530.5 million Swiss francs, or $430 million.

Givaudan's fine-fragrance division continued to post single-digit revenue growth in the first quarter. Double-digit gains in Europe and in Latin America were driven by several launches for major customers, the firm said. Meanwhile, Givaudan's sales in North America declined, "against strong comparables," the company said. Looking ahead, Givaudan said the number of briefs it is working on in all regions remains high, and several launches are planned within the coming months.

Givaudan's consumer products division posted double-digit growth, with India, China and the Philippines showing the strongest performances. The greatest segment growth came from household and hair care, followed by personal care, the firm said.

Fragrance ingredients also recorded a strong first quarter with sales up year-on-year for the first time since Givaudan started rebalancing its portfolio and phasing out certain ingredients. During the period, the company introduced safraleine, a warm, saffron, spicy molecule. And, Quest's research teams created two new captives — zinarine, a natural green and tomato leaf note, and paradisamide, a fresh tropical fruit note. — Ellen Groves

Clarins, Self Team for 'Challenge'

NEW YORK — Groupe Clarins USA and Self magazine have teamed up this spring for the Self Challenge, a three-month diet and exercise program that last year attracted some 300,000 participants, drove body care sales for Clarins and translated into new subscribers for Self.This year's Self Challenge runs from March through May and it's the 11th such event for the magazine, which, like WWD, is owned by Condé Nast Publications. Clarins and Self expect the number of participants in this year's program to exceed the mark set last year, an event that yielded roughly 30,000 new Self subscribers, according to data from the magazine.

The beauty firm is in its second year of sponsoring the program — no surprise considering last year's results. Clarins' body care sales were up double digits in the U.S. during the Self Challenge in March and April last year, according to Clarins executives.

The program works like this: Participants who registered in January and February follow exercise and diet regimens outlined in the March, April and May issues of Self and at self.com. They are encouraged to log their eating and exercise habits online or through the mail. The program culminates in May with so-called Workout in the Park events in four major cities — San Diego, Chicago, Miami and New York — where Clarins samples and treatments as well as giveaways are held.

"We have heightened expectations for this year," said Eric Horowitz, president of the Clarins brand division of Groupe Clarins USA, during a recent interview. To promote awareness of the program, e-mail blasts, as well as visuals on Clarins' Web site, on Self's site and beauty counters, plus advertorials in the magazine, will be employed. "We instinctively feel our customers are reading Self and Self readers are buying Clarins," said Horowitz. "The cobranding effort has been a good one. It's an opportunity to broaden the reach of Clarins to new audiences."

"We call April 'Body Awareness Month,'" added Caroline Pieper-Vogt, senior vice president of marketing for the Clarins brand. "[It] is the core of the program." She noted a highlight of the Self Challenge is that, when consumers buy two full-size Clarins body care products this month, they are eligible for a one-year subscription to Self.

Clarins points of sale in 1,000 doors in the U.S. will have 500,000 Workout Style Cards available, which are meant to match a particular skin care product with a particular workout style, be it yoga, swimming, running or aerobics."[The challenge] touches [participants] consistently throughout the five months," said Kimberly Anderson Kelleher, vice president and publisher of Self. "Beauty is the end goal, but it's about feeling good, eating healthy and taking care of yourself." She added, "The Self Challenge converts more [consumers] to Self subscribers than any other promotion. It leads to trial and purchase."

The April issue of Self, which hit newsstands last week, features removable cards that have photos of exercises on one side and images of Clarins products on the other. An additional highlight of the Self Challenge is a randomly drawn grand prize, which will consist of one winner receiving a weekend trip to Paris to be pampered at the Clarins Institute there. — Matthew W. Evans

L'Oréal Honors 'Women of Worth'

NEW YORK — L'Oréal Paris has kicked off its second annual Women of Worth program, which recognizes women on local and national levels who engage in activities such as community activism and volunteerism.

L'Oréal Paris began accepting nominations Monday. The program was inspired by L'Oréal Paris' "Because I'm Worth It" tag line and brand philosophy. "The four simple words 'Because I'm Worth It' continue to serve as a galvanizing and unifying force for the L'Oréal Paris community," Carol J. Hamilton, president, L'Oréal Paris, said in a statement Friday. "The Women of Worth program brings this message to life and honors real hometown heroes across the country."

Nominations will be accepted through May 24 on the Web site womenofworth.com. Last year, more than 1,600 women participated and seven honorees received $5,000 donations for the various organizations they represent. — Michelle Edgar

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