By  on May 4, 2007

NEW YORK — International Flavors & Fragrances said it experienced a strong first quarter as profits rose 16.8 percent, to $62.7 million from $53.7 million in the same period a year ago.

Results were robust, despite a 54.7 percent jump in interest expense, to $8.3 million. Earnings per share gained 19 percent, to 69 cents a share from 58 cents a share in the year-ago period. The higher profits came on sales that rose 10.7 percent, to $566.1 million from $511.4 million a year ago.

Currency-adjusted sales were up by about 6 percent, IFF said in a statement, noting that sales for the quarter reflected "the generally weaker U.S. dollar, mainly against the euro and [British] pound."

"IFF is off to a solid start in 2007 with double-digit increases in sales and net income," Robert M. Amen, chairman and chief executive officer of IFF, said in the statement.

Fragrance sales increased 11 percent, as did flavor sales. The company noted that fragrance sales were driven by an 11 percent rise in fine fragrance sales and beauty care sales, thanks to product introductions.

Additionally, fragrance ingredient sales rose 17 percent and functional fragrance sales were up 5 percent.

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