IFF sales show signs of recovery

Improved fragrance sales in Europe, boosted by modest gains in
currency conversions, increased first quarter results for the US
fragrance giant International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF).
Strategies in 2003, to help get the company back into
profitability, could be paying off.

First quarter 2004 sales totalled US$535 million, rising 15 per cent on the final quarter of last year and benefiting from the strengthening of various currencies. But had exchange rates remained constant, sales would have seen single digit growth, rising by a less impressive six per cent on 2003.

"The actions that we have taken over the past several years to better our processes, increase efficiencies and improve customer service are clearly paying off,"​ said Richard A. Goldstein, CEO of IFF.

In local currency terms, sales of fragrances dropped by one per cent in Europe, but the strength of the euro and sterling boosted the figures to a 15 per cent rise.

"The local currency performance reflects modest improvement in some of the major economies of Western Europe, most notably in France, Italy and Great Britain, offset by weaker sales in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa,"​ said the fragrance company in a statement yesterday.

Local currency sales growth was strongest in China, Thailand and Vietnam, with respective increases of 16 per cent, 29 per cent and 48 per cent. Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan all grew in the low- to mid-single digits.

In the emerging economies of Latin America, the US company saw modest single digit growth in the Mexican and Brazilian markets.

Performance in the region reflects improved economic conditions and the benefit of new wins in both flavors and fragrances, said the number two global flavours supplier.

The overall figures suggest the US company, recently pushed from the number one position by Swiss competitor Givaudan, could be back on track in the $US5.45 billion (€4.2bn) global flavours and fragrances market.

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