US flavours and fragrance giant International Flavors & Fragrances saw fourth quarter 2002 sales rise 5 per cent to $424.3 million (€391m) from $405.6 million for the same period in 2001, the company reports this week.
Sales for the full year 2002 totalled $1,809.2 million, an increase of 2 per cent over comparable 2001 sales of $1,774.5 million with earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2002 at $0.41 compared to $0.30 per share for the prior year quarter.
Richard A. Goldstein, chairman and CEO of IFF, said: "I am satisfied with these results, particularly in view of the weak global economic conditions. Our focus on successfully completing the integration of BBA combined with our commitment to top-line growth has and will continue to pay off. We also made substantial progress in reducing our debt, enabled by our very strong cash flow and better management of our balance sheet, contributing to substantially lower interest expense."
But, with a note of warning he added: "We must remain cautious in the near term. The strength of the global economy remains uncertain."
So, how did flavours fare for the fourth quarter 2002? According to IFF, flavour sales in Europe declined by 2 per cent in local currency, although this resulted in a 7 per cent increase on translation into the US dollar. In North America, flavours also dipped by 2 per cent mainly due to a slowdown in customer order patterns at year-end. But flavours saw growth in the Asia-Pacific where sales flavours grew by 7 per cent in local currency in the region and 9 per cent in dollars. A reflection of the weak economic conditions in Latin America, flavour sales declined by a hefty 16 per cent.
The IFF outlook for 2003 includes local currency sales growth in the low-single digits. On a percentage basis, growth is forecast to be in the high-single digits in India. North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific are expected to grow in low-single digits while Latin America is expected to be flat as in 2002.