PARIS — L’Oréal’s sales in the second quarter came in slightly below financial analysts’ expectations, after trading conditions in France remained difficult in all channels of distribution.
The world’s largest beauty company, which published results after the close of the Bourse here on Thursday, posted sales of 6.34 billion euros, or $7.13 billion, in the three months ended June 30. Revenues in the period declined 0.6 percent in reported terms and rose 4.3 percent on a like-for-like basis, versus the 4.6 percent expected by analysts.
Jeff Stent, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said in a note that the sales “will likely come as somewhat of a disappointment” and he expects a minus-2 percent to minus-3 percent relative share price reaction on Friday.
Also in the second quarter, L’Oréal’s cosmetics division’s sales gained 4.6 percent in like-for-like terms, coming in 10 basis points below projections. Company sales in Western Europe were up 1.4 percent at a comparable structure and identical exchange rates, against consensus estimates of 1.8 percent.
Other highlights in the quarter included The Body Shop’s 3.2 percent decline in sales, versus predictions of plus-2 percent, and growth in North America of 4.9 percent, 40 basis points above expectations — all on a like-for-like basis.
“It’s a good level and echoes the market that’s quite solid,” said Eva Quiroga, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. She also noted the Consumer Products Division’s 4.7 percent gain.
“It had been quite weak in recent quarters, particularly due to the U.S., so the fact that this is improving is definitely good news, given it is the biggest division for the group,” continued Quiroga.
L’Oréal’s first-half net profits fell 21.3 percent in reported terms to 1.48 billion euros, or $1.65 billion, dented by nonrecurring items linked mainly to the goodwill impairment for the Clarisonic and Magic brands, which amounted to 234 million euros and 213 million euros, or $261.1 million and $237.7 million, respectively.
“L’Oréal tends to have a good track record with making small acquisitions into sizable businesses by giving them access to the L’Oréal platform, with Maybelline and Kiehl’s key examples of that,” said Quiroga, who also named Essie and NYX.
Regarding Clarisonic and Magic, L’Oréal stated: “The recent performances of these two brands have been below expectations, resulting in these accounting entries which have no impact on the cash situation. The strategic relevance of these two brands remains unchanged.”
Net profits excluding nonrecurring items, after noncontrolling interests, came to 2.03 billion euros, or $2.26 billion, up 3.5 percent versus the same prior-year period.
In the six months operating profit at L’Oréal gained 1.7 percent to 2.36 billion euros, or $2.64 billion, while sales came in at 12.89 billion euros, or $14.38 billion, up 0.6 percent.
Céline Pannuti, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Cazenove, said in a note that L’Oréal’s first half was a “solid performance, though after the strong start to the year, this is probably not the strength the market was looking for” and that might pressure the L’Oréal valuation premium rating.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement highlighted an increase in sales across all branches and geographic zones in the half. He noted the Consumer Products Division’s acceleration, L’Oréal Luxe’s sustained growth, the Active Cosmetics Division’s increased market share and the Professional Products Division’s efforts in a sector that’s gradually improving.
Also on the geographic front, New Markets were showing “robust growth.”
L’Oréal’s e-commerce sales gained 33 percent, generating about 6 percent of total company sales in the half.
“In an environment that is still volatile and uncertain, particularly on the monetary front, L’Oréal’s strength, today more than ever, lies in its balanced business model,” stated Agon. “The first half reinforces our confidence in the group’s ability to outperform its market, and to achieve another year of sales and profit growth in 2016.”
The executive is scheduled to discuss L’Oréal results with the financial community and journalists during a conference call on Friday morning.