By  on November 25, 2008

PARIS — Inter Parfums Inc., the U.S. parent of Inter Parfums SA, reduced its 2008 earnings guidance on Monday, citing the strength of the dollar versus the euro.

But Inter Parfums SA, based here, maintained full-year 2008 sales guidance of 260 million euros, or $333.8 million at current exchange, and forecast growth of 5 percent for 2009.

The U.S. parent, which owns 75 percent of Inter Parfums SA,accounted for 53.1 percent of the companies’ combined sales for the first half of this year.

“Reflecting mixed performances in the worldwide market for fragrances and cosmetics, we have set cautious sales growth targets for 2009, limited to 5 percent compared with 2008,” said Philippe Benacin, president and chief executive officer of Inter Parfums SA. “We nevertheless possess significant competitive advantages for continued expansion in the years ahead: a high-quality portfolio of premium international brands, a long-term strategy based on both classic fragrances and new lines, recognized expertise and well-managed growth.”

Late Monday, Inter Parfums Inc. reduced its 2008 guidance to net income of about $25 million, or 81 cents a diluted share, from its previous estimate of $26.8 million, or 87 cents. Sales, originally slated to reach about $460 million, are projected to tally $445 million.

“We previously expected that the strength of our brands and new product launches would enable us to reach our previously issued guidance,” said Russell Greenberg, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Inter Parfums Inc. “However, the very challenging economic environment that has manifested over the last few weeks brings doubt to that expectation.”

Initial guidance for next year was set at net income of $26 million, or 85 cents a diluted share, on sales of $405 million, mirroring the French subsidiary’s projection of a 5 percent increase in sales.

The French company said it has turned in a “very satisfactory” fall season, noting it counts Burberry the Beat and the existing Burberry lines among strong performers. It also singled out its Lanvin fragrance portfolio, which fared particularly well in the second half, thanks to steady sales of Eclat d’Arpége and the launch in that period of Jeanne Lanvin. Aided by First, a classic scent, and Féerie, Inter Parfums’ first launch as licensee, Van Cleef & Arpels’ fragrance business exceeded expectations.

The firm said it has planned a packed 2009 launch calendar, which will include a number of items targeting men. Novelties in the pipeline include newness from Quiksilver; Burberry the Beat for Men; Lanvin L’Homme Sport, which will be fronted by tennis player Rafael Nadal, and Paul Smith Man.

“The group has a particularly solid balance sheet with shareholders’ equity of 150 million euros [or $192.8 million] and marginal net debt of approximately 10 million euros [or $12.9 million],” stated Philippe Santi, executive vice president, adding that the position is “an additional strength to pursue potential acquisition opportunities.”

Inter Parfums SA is scheduled to report full-year 2008 sales on Jan. 22.

As previously reported, the company, which also markets Roxy, S.T. Dupont and Christian Lacroix fragrances — and owns the Nickel men’s skin care brand — posted first-half 2008 profits of 11.2 million euros, or $17.1 million at average exchange, up 6 percent on the same prior-year period. Sales were 128.3 million euros, or $196.4 million, a 16.3 percent increase on the first half of 2007.

First-half operating profits gained 16 percent to 17.7 million euros, or $27.1 million, while gross margin increased 13 percent to 76.8 million euros, or $117.5 million, representing about 60 percent of the firm’s sales.

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