UNILEVER NUMBERS: Unilever reported Thursday its first-quarter profits from continuing operations rose 5 percent, to 1.05 billion euros, or $1.38 billion at average exchange. Its turnover was flat year-on-year at 9.53 billion euros, or $12.49 billion, in the three-month period ended March 31. At constant exchange rates, profits gained 9 percent and sales increased 5 percent. By region, turnover grew 2.1 percent in Europe, to 3.54 billion euros, or $4.64 billion; they were down 5.5 percent in the Americas, to 3.23 billion euros, or $4.23 billion, and they rose 4 percent in Asia/Africa, to 2.75 billion euros, or $3.6 billion. Underlying sales growth was up 3.6 percent, 3.2 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.
FIRMENICH ACQUISITION: Flavors and fragrances supplier Firmenich has agreed to buy the flavors division of Danish food supplier Danisco for about 730 million Swiss francs, or $601 million at current exchange. The acquisition is expected to expand Firmenich's product offering and market coverage, particularly in vanilla, ice cream and beverage bases, and reinforce its position in citrus, naturals and the dairy segment, the firm said in a statement. The purchase will "enlarge the creative scope of [Firmenich's] perfumers and flavorists," Firmenich stated, adding it will "be creating an innovation center in the south of France, specifically designed to further develop its expertise in natural fragrance and flavor extracts." The deal is expected to close at the end of next month.
CHANEL MOVE: Chanel Parfums Beauté's Comité d'Entreprise (Work's Committee) has approved a project proposed by the company that aims for an increase in employment. As reported, France's labor union, the Confédération Générale de Travail, had called for protests against the transfer of Chanel's lipstick production from the Paris suburb of Pantin to the company's factories in Chamant and in Compiègne, both in the Oise region of northern France. The union had believed the move would cause layoffs. According to Chanel, its project, dubbed Horizon 2009, will create 53 jobs at the other sites, resulting in an increase of employment overall in the next two years. Chanel has 3,500 employees in France.
AWARD SEASON: A 300-strong bevy of beauty executives gathered here last week for the 2007 Cosmetic Executive Women U.K. Beauty Awards. Winners included classic products — such as Chanel No. 5, which picked up the best classic prestige women's scent accolade, and Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Lotion, which won the best classic mass skin-care product category. New products were also lauded — including Hermès' Terre d'Hermès, named best new prestige men's scent, and Max Factor's Masterpiece Mascara, which took the prize for best new mass makeup product. The winning items, voted on by CEW members in 21 product categories, will be promoted in World Duty Free, Harrods and House of Fraser stores.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"