BENCKISER’S ’95 NET SOARS TO $67.6M

NEW YORK — German beauty company Joh. A Benckiser GmbH reported net income surged to $67.6 million (100 million deutsche marks) in 1995 from DM 12.7 million.
Pretax profits rose 30 percent to $128.4 million (DM 190 million).
Benckiser said the increase was the result of improved operating profits, lower interest expenses due to reduced debt and the absence of a one-time tax charge in 1994.
Sales were flat at $3.2 billion (DM 4.8 billion), but after eliminating exchange rate effects, sales rose 5.8 percent.
At Lancaster Group, Benckiser’s prestige cosmetics and fragrance business, sales were down 12.9 percent to $564.2 million (DM 835 million). The results reflect a cut in distribution of the Lancaster brand in the U.S. and a restricted supply in certain other markets to control potential gray market sources.
With Coty, Benckiser’s mass market business, sales were up 6.5 percent to $878 million (DM 1.3 billion).
Benckiser noted that improvements in Coty’s performance were the result of several “significant” fragrance launches in 1995, including Ghost Myst, Ici, Route 66, Jovan Fresh Musk and Eau de Varino. In addition, the division noted the international rollout of several brands, including Vanilla Fields, Vanilla Musk and Adidas Sport.
The company also cited growth in Coty skin care business through Multiactive in Spain and Vitacare in Argentina, Eastern Europe and India. Benckiser recently lost a bid to acquire Maybelline Inc. for $37 a share. Ultimately, L’OrAal won Maybelline for $508 million, or $41 a share. Last month, Benckiser reorganized into two business divisions, placing all beauty business — including Lancaster — under the Coty umbrella.
— Fairchild News Service

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