IFF PROFIT DROPS 9.7 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER

NEW YORK — Stung by a $9.4 million charge for the early retirement of 70 employees and a weak euro, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. reported earnings slid 9.7 percent in the first quarter ended March 31.
Earnings declined to $43.8 million, or 42 cents a share, from $48.8 million, or 46 cents, a year ago.
Excluding the charge, earnings rose 2.6 percent to $50 million, or 48 cents, from $48.8 million, or 46 cents, a year ago.
Sales inched ahead 0.6 percent to $369.9 million from $367.8 million, but the firm’s revenues would have been up if expressed in local currencies. Results were particularly skewed by the strength of the dollar against the euro. Sales were down 5 percent in its European, Africa and Middle East region on a reported basis, but up 5 percent in local currencies.
In the fragrance portion of the business, overall sales rose 2 percent, but were up 7 percent in local currencies. By region, fragrance sales rose 5 percent in North America, 4 percent in Latin America and 16 percent in Asia-Pacific, but slid 3 percent in the EAME region.
On a local currency basis, sales in the EAME region climbed 8 percent and sales in Asia-Pacific advanced 14 percent.
IFF said it had completed the restructuring program — first announced in June 1999 and designed to streamline operations and accelerate earnings growth — and expected annual savings of $15 million; part of this plan was the early retirement of 70 U.S. employees in January.
IFF continues to look for a permanent chief executive officer following the retirement of Eugene P. Grisanti, chairman, president and ceo, in December.
Richard M. Furlaud, formerly president of of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and an IFF director since 1990, has assumed the post of interim chairman and ceo while a search is under way. Grisanti, who turned 70, had run the firm for 15 years.