L'Oreal proves it's worth it with 143pc profit leap

17th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 17 (AFP) - French cosmetics group L'Oreal said on Thursday that net profits last year had surged by 143 percent from the 2003 figure, the 20th annual rise in a row.

PARIS, Feb 17 (AFP) - French cosmetics group L'Oreal said on Thursday that net profits last year had surged by 143 percent from the 2003 figure, the 20th annual rise in a row.

Net profits totalled EUR 3.626 billion (USD 4.7 billion) in 2004, but the company flagged a EUR 2.2 billion exceptional gain from the deconsolidation of its pharmaceutical business Sanofi-Synthelabo.

Sanofi, which was 19.5-percent owned by L'Oreal, was merged with Aventis last year to form a new group, Sanofi-Aventis.

"The strategy of diversification of our network and increasing entry into new markets lead to another year of sustained growth," said chairman and chief executive Lindsay Owen-Jones.

The deconsolidation of Sanofi had enabled the group to concentrate on its core cosmetics business.

In early trading L'Oreal shares were showing a gain of 1.82 percent to EUR 58.65 in a slightly lower market.

The group's operating profit, excluding currency changes, was stable compared to 2003 at EUR 1.656 billion.

The board also proposed a dividend payment to shareholders of EUR 0.82 per share, an increase of 12.3 percent compared to 2003.

Owen-Jones also announced details of changes in the management structure which will be implemented after his forthcoming departure.

The combined job of chief executive and chairman will be split, and the current head of US operations, Jean-Paul Agon, will be nominated as chief executive at a board meeting on April 26, he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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