Cosmetics Maker L'Oreal Boosts First-Half Profit on New Markets

North American and European markets ousted as leading driver of sales.

L'Oreal (IW 1000/165), the world's largest cosmetics maker, said Tuesday its first-half net profit rose 10.8% from a year earlier to 1.625 billion euros (US$2.04 billion) and confirmed its forecasts for 2012.

"Bolstered by these results, and despite the uncertainties of the economic environment, we confirm for 2012 our ambition to outperform the market, and achieve another year of growth in sales, results and profitability," CEO Jean-Paul Agon said in a statement.

Operating profit in the six months to June was 1.90 billion euros, with operating margins at 16.9%, up slightly from 16.8% during the same period last year.

In a conference call, spokesman Thierry Prevot said "new markets" that exclude North America and Europe for the first time became the leading driver of sales, accounting for 40% of the group's turnover over the period.

Prevot said the development was "historic."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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