Discounting the impact of acquisitions and currency, L'Oreal's sales were still up 8.5%, 1 to 2 percentage points ahead of analysts' forecasts. L'Oreal did not disclose net earnings, which will be reported later this month, but projected an 18th consecutive year of double-digit earnings growth.
In a speech during its annual meeting of shareholders, Chairman-CEO M. Lindsay Owen-Jones said the results showed the resilience of cosmetics and
Strong double-digit growth in such developing markets as China and Russia helped boost the top line, while sales in North America and of luxury products continued to lag behind the rest of company, he said.
But, Owen-Jones added, "markets are continuing to grow even in the most developed countries."
Mr. Jones said L'Oreal will likely continue to make small- and medium-size acquisitions in 2002 but would not comment on whether he's interested in buying German personal-care marketer Beiersdorf.