BERLIN — In light of strong group operating earnings in the second quarter of 2003, the Henkel Group reconfirmed its sales forecast of 4 percent growth, adjusted for currency effects, acquisitions and divestments, for the full year.

In the second quarter, the Henkel Group recorded a 7.2 percent rise in earnings before interest and taxes, about $200.7 million, or, in local currency, 180 million euros. Adjusted for currency effects, EBIT rose 14.9 percent for the quarter. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.

Group sales sank 4.4 percent to $2.65 billion, or 2.39 billion euros, but rose 2.4 percent when adjusted for currency effects. The Henkel Group consists of detergents, cosmetics and body care, adhesives and technologies divisions.

Henkel’s cosmetic and body care division saw sales decline 3.2 percent to $609.9 million, or 547 million euros, but rose 2.7 percent at constant exchange rates. EBIT for the division rose 4.5 percent, or 10.4 percent when adjusted for currency effects. Henkel said it continues to expect full-year sales for the division to grow in “the upper one-digit range.”

For the first six months of 2003, cosmetics and body care sales reached $1.16 billion, or 1.04 billion euros, a decline of 3.5 percent, but a 2.3 percent increase at constant exchange rates. EBIT for the period was up 2.6 percent, or up 5.9 percent at constant exchange rates.

— Melissa Drier

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