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New Coty Turnaround Agenda Prioritizes Deleveraging, Profitability

As part of the plan the business is setting up a global headquarters in Amsterdam.

Coty Inc. has unveiled its latest turnaround plan under new chief executive officer Pierre Laubies that centers around deleveraging, rediscovering growth and building a pride and performance-based culture.

The four-year strategy includes personnel shifts as well, and is expected to cost about $600 million through 2023. The plan is expected to be in place by Jan. 1.

“Over the past few months, we have focused on both stabilizing our operations and identifying a path toward turning around the company,” Laubies said in a statement. “Our turnaround plan will enable us to build a better business in the coming four years, while we gradually prepare for growth. We are fortunate to have a strong brand portfolio and talented and engaged people around the world, and we will provide the right framework to enable their success. We will focus our strategy effort and investments on fewer brands globally while simplifying our operations and organization. At the same time, we will make our cultural transformation agenda a key building block of our plan.”

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Laubies went on to note that the key financial priorities are improving profitability and deleveraging.

As part of the plan, Coty intends to focus brand-building efforts around brand-country combinations and invest behind them “at scale,” the company said. Coty intends to improve productivity on the shelf by “optimizing assortment choice” and simplifying product ranges and “brand architecture.” Higher-margin brand pillars and building out the innovation pipeline are also part of the growth equation, the company said.

The company also plans to “value [engineer]” product ranges and the supply chain to improve the cost of goods sold, rationalize stockkeeping units and sub ranges to reduce complexity, lower inventory and increase productivity of the shelf, and simplify decision-making for its team.

As part of that, Coty is restructuring to regional teams with brand marketing segments for Luxury and Consumer beauty. The company is also establishing a central headquarters in Amsterdam.

On the executive front, Edgar Huber, previously president of the Luxury division, will be appointed president of Americas and Asia-Pacific. Gianni Pieraccioni will become president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Fiona Hughes will be appointed president of the Consumer Beauty segment, and Simona Cattaneo will take the helm of the Luxury division as president.

“We will recover competitiveness by strengthening our brands, expanding our gross margins and methodically reducing our costs,” said Pierre-André Terisse, chief financial officer, said in a statement. “Together this will give us the flexibility to step up our commercial investments while simultaneously driving significant operating margin expansion and enable Coty to achieve a leverage ratio of net debt to [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] below 4x by fiscal 2023.”

Coty’s target for fiscal 2023 is an operating margin between 14 percent and 16 percent, free cash flow of around $1 billion, and a net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio of less than four times.

The business also noted that it is in the process of testing for impairment as part of the plan, and expects to record an impairment of its intangible assets of $3 billion.