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L’Oréal open to acquisitions as it looks to outperform the market in 2013

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 13-Feb-2013

For some, having a strong year in such a difficult climate may be an excuse to take it easy, but not for beauty behemoth L’Oréal as CEO Jean-Paul Agon announced the company are open to acquisitions to further strengthen this year.

This week the French firm posted its full-year 2012 results , with a strong performance in emerging markets along with steady increases elsewhere, leading to double digit growth, as the company once again, outperforms the market.

Speaking a day later Agon stated that despite healthy gains, the company was still open to making an acquisition, after unveiling plans to return 500 million euros (US$669 million) to shareholders.

Ready

"[L’Oréal is] ready to make important acquisitions when the opportunity presents itself,” said Agon, adding that there would be a means to bolster the company's brand portfolio in terms of different consumers or distribution channels.

The chief executive claimed L’Oréal had the "means and the guts" to do a takeover deal, helped by a 1.58-billion-euro cash pile at the end of last year.

"We look at every business in the cosmetics industry ... but we are very selective," he continued, adding that L'Oreal did not wish to make an acquisition that would transform its business.

The beauty boss also revealed that the Paris-headquartered firm expects the global cosmetics market to grow by around 4.5 per cent in 2013, and that it will outperform this figure once more.

Euro problems

Agon also spoke about how the financial situation and the strong euro is a problem for his native France in an interview with French daily Le Figaro.

He added that the currency "is one of the most obvious and efficient mechanisms which the authorities have to improve the competitiveness of European industry."

Although the euro has risen sharply in the last few months Agon told the French daily that for L’Oréal the strong euro "isn't really a problem, as the majority of our products are manufactured locally." But he added that "for luxury, it is indeed a handicap."

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