Nocibé Owners to Sell Majority Stake
PARIS — Three investors in French perfumery chain Nocibé have decided to sell their stake in the retailer.

Bridgepoint Capital, Three Cities Research and Intermediate Capital Group have agreed to sell their joint majority holdings to Charterhouse Capital.

A minority stake remains owned by Nocibé directors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Villeneuve d'Ascq, France-based Nocibé, which is the country's third-largest perfumery chain, is expected to reach sales of 460 million euros, or $553 million at current exchange, this year. According to a press statement, Nocibé holds 16 percent domestic market share.

Since Bridgepoint Capital, a London-based private equity firm, acquired the majority stake in Nocibé in October 2002, the beauty chain has increased its store count in France from 285 to 359 locations, of which 60 are franchised.

In the statement, Bridgepoint said its acquisition of Euro Santé Beauté perfumery chain in March enabled it to "diversify the group's activities" and "position [Nocibé] in France's 'parapharmacy' market."

Charterhouse Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, said in the statement that it "expects to pursue and accelerate the development of Nocibé in France and internationally, making the group a leading player in the consolidation of the market for beauty products. In particular, it will work with Nocibé on its strategy, bringing together its perfume and 'parapharmacy' activities within its stores."

Nocibé's current chief executive officer, Xavier Dura, will remain with the company after it changes hands, which will most likely take place in late February.
— Ellen Groves

Ferré Scent Set for U.S. Rollout
NEW YORK — Ferré, the newest women's scent from designer Gianfranco Ferré, is poised for a rollout in the U.S.

The fragrance, which was launched in Europe in October, will reach 98 Nordstrom doors, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, in March. There are no plans to widen this distribution base. Ferré, which was blended by Pierre Bourdon of Fragrance Resources, is built around white iris, and uses multiple parts of the flower. The scent's top notes feature iris leaves, its middle notes include iris blossom and the base of the scent features iris root.Two versions of the eau de parfum, an $82.50, 3.4-oz. bottle and a $65, 1.7-oz. bottle, will be available in the U.S., as will a body lotion and a bath and shower gel, both 6.8 oz., at $40 and $35, respectively. Industry sources estimate the scent could generate first-year retail sales of roughly $1 million in the U.S.

In the U.S., Clarins Fragrance Group is handling distribution of Ferré; its license is held by ITF, based in Italy.
— Matthew W. Evans

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