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PARIS – Givaudan, the world’s largest fragrance and flavors supplier, registered fourth-quarter sales that beat market expectations.
The Zurich-based company on Friday said sales for the three months ended Dec. 30 reached 1.61 billion Swiss francs, or $1.82 billion, down 0.5 percent in reported terms and up 4.8 percent on a like-for-like basis.
“Q4 organic growth is comfortably ahead of expectations, driven by fragrance, but strong [Latin America] performance means weaker [currency exchange rates], and sales, EBITDA and EPS are 1 percent, 1 percent and 4 percent below consensus,” wrote equity analysts Ryan Tomkins and Martin Deboo in a Jeffries note.
They highlighted that Givaudan said visibility this year remains “short,” and that there are indications of raw material inflation for the first half of 2021 and beyond.
In 2020, Givaudan’s profits and sales gains were buoyed in part by the group’s household, health and personal-care segments.
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The company reported net profits of 743 million francs, up 5.8 percent versus 2019. It posted sales of 6.32 billion francs, representing a 1.9 percent gain in reported terms and a 4 percent rise on a like-for-like basis.
Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty sales increased 4.5 percent in reported terms and 5.4 percent on a like-for-like basis to 2.92 billion francs. Its Taste and Wellbeing revenues came in at 3.4 billion francs, down 0.2 percent in francs and up 2.8 percent in like-for-like terms.
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“In Fragrance and Beauty, the product segments most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely fine fragrances and to a lesser extent active beauty, showed a solid improvement in the second half of the year, despite continued restrictions on retail and travel-retail activity,” Givaudan said in a statement.
“I am very pleased that in an unprecedented environment related to COVID-19, we have been able to deliver such a strong financial performance in 2020, as well as successfully delivering on all of our ambitious targets in relation to our 2016-2020 strategy,” said Givaudan chief executive officer Gilles Andrier.
As part of that strategy, Givaudan has finalized 16 acquisitions over the past four years. With 4.9 percent average annual sales growth on a like-for-like basis, the company outpaced the market’s 4 percent to 5 percent. Givaudan also had aimed to have a free cash flow of 12 percent to 17 percent of sales, which was achieved with 12.6 percent of sales on average per annum between 2016 and 2020.
Givaudan met the target, as well, of increasing its dividend yearly, which it has done since the company listed on the Swiss stock exchange in 2000.
The group said it has set new goals for 2025 to be fueled by three growth drivers: expand the portfolio, extend customer reach and focused market strategies.
By 2025, Givaudan aims for organic sales growth of 4 percent to 5 percent on a like-for-like basis and a free cash flow of at least 12 percent – both on average on an annual basis.
“In addition, the company aims to deliver on key non-financial targets around sustainability, diversity and safety linked to Givaudan’s purpose,” the company said.
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