Analysts Bullish on Clarins
PARIS — Financial analysts were upbeat about Groupe Clarins’ turnout for 2005.

As reported, the French beauty company’s net profit increased 11.2 percent to 96.7 million euros, or $122.7 million at average exchange, last year over 2004. Net sales rose 7.1 percent to 998.2 million euros, or $1.27 billion.

“The numbers were a fraction better than we expected, and the net profit also did not contain any surprises,” said Eva Quiroga, an analyst at UBS in London. “As for 2006, we are going for about 6.5 percent sales increase, so slightly ahead of guidance. But given the strong start to the year, I feel very happy with that, considering all the new products on the skin care side of things.”

Indeed, Clarins executives reiterated during a financial analyst meeting held in a suburb of Paris Friday that 2006 is the year the company is to focus on skin care. Already in the first three months of 2006, Clarins has introduced numerous treatment products, including the Smoothing Body Scrub for a New Skin, Water Comfort One-Step Cleanser and a revamped sun care collection.

In 2005, Clarins concentrated on developing its fragrance division, whose launches included the signature scents Par Amour and Par Amour Toujours, Thierry Mugler’s Alien, Azzaro’s Silver Black and Stella Cadente’s Miss Me. Product introductions typically require a significant spend on advertising and in-store events, but despite numerous initiatives, Clarins increased its operating margins by 12.7 percent in 2005, outpacing guidance of 12 percent.

Another analyst, who requested anonymity, said such margins are a good basis from which Clarins can continue building its skin care business.
Jennifer Weil

Imperial Chemical in Deal for Shaw Mudge
LONDON — Imperial Chemical Industries has inked a deal to acquire Shelton, Conn.-based fragrance supplier Shaw Mudge & Co.

The acquisition is part of London-based ICI’s strategic plan to bolster its fragrance and flavors business that is run through Quest International. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This exciting acquisition is fully aligned with Quest’s strategy to grow its fragrance business aggressively, via a select number of targeted customers, and to strengthen market position in the hair care category,” Quest said in a statement. “Shaw Mudge is a privately held fragrance house specializing in creating, marketing and selling fragrances for a number of consumer applications, in particular hair care, which is one of its key competitive strengths.”

This story first appeared in the March 30, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Shaw Mudge’s owner, Grant Mudge, will join Quest following the acquisition.
Brid Costello

Israeli Cosmetics’ Sales Surpass $200M in ’05
PARIS — Israeli cosmetics’ export sales jumped 7.3 percent to $204 million in 2005 compared with 2004, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.

The IEICI’s director general, Yechiel Assia, said in a release that he expects the country’s beauty export sales to increase to $250 million this year. Also during 2006, Israel’s cosmetics exports are expected to reach the key markets of the U.S. and Russia, said Lior Levi, chairman of the IEICI’s Cosmetics and Toiletry Association, in the statement. Israel has become a world leader in the development of antiaging products using mineral-rich waters from the Dead Sea.
Whitney West

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