Wella's provisional results suggest that last year's downturn did nothing to diminish the luster, body or bounce of the group's business.
Provisional results announced on Thursday suggest that Wella, the German cosmetics and haircare group, weathered the economic downturn particularly well in 2001.
The company said full-year sales revenue had come in at 3.2 billion euros. This meant that, despite a difficult final quarter, it had achieved 13% full-year sales growth – considerably more than the market leader, France's L'Oreal.
But West LB Panmure said Wella's sales had fallen slightly short of expectations. For this reason, it did no more than hold its neutral rating for Wella shares. It added that it won't be revising its earnings outlook for the group.
Wella's final figures for 2001 are to be announced on 9 April. It said these would show earnings growth to have come in slightly above its target.
In 2000, the company's operating earnings came in at 228.4 million euros.The company expects 2002 to bring a further improvement in its operating return on sales.
Chief Executive Heiner Gürtler has set a target of 13% margin by 2005. Investors gave a lukewarm response to Wella's results. The M-Dax stock closed up 0.33% at 54.40 euros.