By  on February 10, 2010

Even as fourth-quarter sales rose 8.6 percent at fragrance supplier International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., profits slid 3.1 percent to $47.4 million, or 59 cents a diluted share, from $49 million, or 62 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding restructuring expenses and prior-year tax settlements, adjusted EPS for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 was 63 cents a share versus 50 cents a share in the 2008 quarter, IFF noted.

The adjusted EPS figure was 1 cent better than the 62 cents a share expected by analysts polled by Yahoo Finance.

The company on Tuesday reported quarterly sales reached $585.6 million compared with $539.1 million in the year-ago period.

In his first earnings call with the company, Douglas D. Tough, IFF’s nonexecutive chairman and incoming chief executive officer, said, “IFF has weathered the global economic crisis relatively well. I am pleased with the strong leadership that the executive team has shown over this period of transition.”

Tough in September was named to succeed former chairman and chief executive officer Robert M. Amen, who stepped down. He is to officially take on his new duties no later than the first quarter of this year.

Quarterly revenues at IFF’s fragrance division came in at $315.5 million, a 9.4 percent increase from $288.4 million a year ago. Local currency sales for the fragrance division increased 4 percent, the company noted, adding that emerging markets like greater Asia and Latin America drove results.

Within fragrances, the firm’s Beauty Care unit grew in the double digits, while its Fine Fragrance unit remained under pressure as weakness in developed markets continued to impact performance, IFF stated.

“The prestige market has been most affected in North America,” noted Nicolas Mirzayantz, group president of fragrances. “We’re seeing some retailers and brands focusing on supporting some of the classics or bringing innovation.”

Full-year profits were off 14.9 percent to $195.5 million, or $2.46 a share, from $229.6 million, or $2.86 a share, in 2008. Sales for the year declined 2.6 percent to $2.33 billion from $2.39 billion last year.

Fragrance division sales for the full year were down 4 percent to $1.24 billion, from $1.3 billion in 2008.

The drop in full-year results was attributed to a more difficult operating environment during the first half of 2009, which improved during the second half, the firm noted.

Shares of the firm advanced $1.23, or 3.1 percent, to end the New York Stock Exchange trading session at $41.08 Tuesday.

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