PARIS — Groupe Clarins is not for sale, according to Olivier Courtin-Cla­rins, the company's vice president of research and development, on Friday.

He was responding to rumors circulating that the company is on the block since his father and Clarins founder, Jacques, died late last week.

"They are rumors," maintained Courtin-Clarins. "There is no change in capitalization. There is no need to sell. The company remains run by my brother and myself. There is no strategic change."

Courtin-Clarins was referring to his brother, Christian, who is Clarins' president and chief executive officer.

As reported, the company's stock price had risen on the news of senior Courtin-Clarins' passing. Sources had cited, among other possible suitors, Procter & Gamble, the Estée Lauder Cos., L'Oréal and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. — Jennifer Weil

KKR, Pessina to Review Alliance Boots' Books

LONDON — Alliance Boots said Friday it has agreed to open its books so that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Stefano Pessina can undertake due diligence after the suitors sweetened their potential takeover approach to over 10 billion pounds, or $19.68 billion at current exchange.

KKR and Pessina, who is Alliance Boots' executive deputy chairman and holds a 15 percent stake in the company, said in a regulatory announcement Friday that they had upped their potential bid to 10.40 pence, or $20.47, valuing the company at 10.1 billion pounds, or $19.88 billion.

On March 12, Alliance Boots, which owns health and beauty retailer Boots the Chemists and a wholesale pharmaceuticals business, rebuffed the consortium's initial advance of 10 pounds, or $19.69, per share, claiming it did not reflect the fundamental value of the company.

KKR, a private equity firm, and Pessina said the latest announcement does not signify a firm intention to make an offer; however, analysts are bullish about its chances.

"It's virtually a done deal," said Richard Ratner, chief analyst at Seymour Pierce in London, adding that while other companies are also likely to be eyeing Alliance Boots, Pessina's strong links with the company's wholesale business and the high price potentially on offer could turn other suitors off. "It's a very good deal for shareholders."KKR and Pessina said in the statement they expect to commence due diligence shortly. "The consortium's investment rationale is predicted on long-term growth," the consortium said in the statement. "Its objective is to work with the existing management team to enhance Alliance Boots' position as a global leader in the health care services and beauty industries. The consortium is also committed to building upon Alliance Boots' unique position as a trusted U.K. brand and retail institution."

Last week, Alliance Boots announced plans to invest 65 million pounds, or $128 million, to rebrand a majority of its 900 community pharmacies to take on a recently tested "your local Boots pharmacy" format. The pharmacies were owned by Alliance UniChem prior to its merger with the Boots Group in July last year. — Brid Costello

Symrise Sees Red in 2006

LONDON — Flavors and fragrances firm Symrise reported Thursday a net loss of 89.9 million euros, or $119.9 million at current exchange, for 2006.

The Holzminden, Germany-based company, which generated losses of 52.4 million euros, or $69.9 million, in 2005, said the result was due to nonrecurring items including costs linked to its initial public offering last year and its restructuring program.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization adjusted to eliminate nonrecurring factors were up 26 percent, weighing in at 243.2 million euros, or $324.3 million. Sales spiked 7 percent year-on-year to 1.229 billion euros, or $1.64 billion.

Going forward, Symrise said in a statement it expects to ring up annual sales growth of 5 percent per annum in 2007 and 2008, while the adjusted EBITDA margin will increase from 19.8 percent in 2006 to "substantially more than 20 percent.

"It is our objective to achieve faster, primarily organic growth than the market," the firm said in the statement. It also said it is planning to make acquisitions.

In 2006, Symrise's Scent & Care Division saw sales jump by 6.5 percent to reach 647.4 million euros, or $863.3 million. EBITDA for the division rose 29.2 percent to 112.9 million euros, or $150.5 million. — B.C.

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