Strong fragrance sales lead IFF to recovery

By Lorraine Heller and Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Flavor, Aroma compound, Iff

Leading US flavor and fragrance firm IFF has reported strong growth
in its fourth quarter and full year, indicating that the company
could be coming up for air after a tough year in 2005.

Total sales were up 11 percent in the quarter, resulting primarily from successful new product introductions as well as volume growth. Sales for the year were up 5 percent to $2.1bn.

But it was fragrance sales that led the comeback, up 13 per cent, compared to an increase of 7 per cent for flavors.

The company said that its fragrance sales were led by an 18 per cent increase in fine fragrance sales, a figure boosted by a number of new product introductions.

Likewise, sales of functional fragrances and fragrance ingredients increased 9 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, again off the back of new product introductions and increases in general volumes.

The strong performance follows a wide-ranging restructuring plan, designed to cut costs, improve profits and boost the firm's business unit structure after a dip in sales in the 2005 fiscal year.

According to International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) chairman and CEO Robert Amen, "our strategy is working and we have good momentum going into 2007"​ .

Net income for the quarter shot up 192 percent compared to the same period last year, after 2005 results were dragged down by heavy restructuring charges. Excluding non-recurring items from both 2005 and 2006, IFF saw a 30 percent increase in fourth quarter net income. Full year net income rose 15 percent to reach $223m.

However, profit remained lower than expected by the investment community, pushing down the firm's share value $0.02 yesterday to $0.48.

As of this month, IFF has separated its business into two different units in a move designed to better reflect its flavor and fragrance operations, sharpen the company's focus and accountability across the organization, and accelerate its growth.

The reorganization comes after last January's announcement of plans to cut costs and improve profitability, which involved slashing 300 employees - or 6 percent of the company's total workforce - in an effort to generate $16m - $18m in annual savings.

Sales for its full year 2005 had declined 2 percent to $1,993m compared to the previous year, with North American fragrance and flavor sales declining 1 percent and 7 percent respectively. European sales declined 8 percent in the year.

At the time, IFF had said it expected 2006 local currency sales to increase in the low single digits in comparison to 2005.

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