PARIS -- L'Oreal (IW 1000/155), the world's largest cosmetics company, said Monday its net profit rose by 3.2% last year to 2.96 billion euros (US$4 billion) on sales which rose by 2.3% to 22.98 billion euros.
Chief executive Jean-Paul Agon called the sales growth robust given the slower growth in the sector and noted L'Oreal accelerated its outperformance of the market.
Moreover, "profitability reached a record level in 2013, confirming the relevance of our business model," he said.
Like other European companies, L'Oreal was hit by the effects of the strong euro, which the company said had a negative 3.7% impact on its figures.
At constant exchange rate terms, sales grew by 6%.
In addition to the L'Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York mass market brands, the group also markets luxury cosmetics under brands such as Lancome, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani. L'Oreal also owns the Bodyshop.
Geographically, sales in Western Europe rose by 1.1% in reported terms, by 2.8% in North America and by 3.3% in what the company calls new markets.
The company's board proposed increasing the dividend payment by 8.7% to 2.50 euros per share. L'Oreal shares rose by 4.5% to 129 euros before the earnings announcement that the group might buy back shares owned by Nestle, which would boost the value of the stock.The statement made no mention of the buy-back.
Agon expressed confidence for this year. "In an economic context that is still marked by uncertainties, particularly on the monetary front, L'Oreal is confident in its ability to outperform the market once again in 2014, and to achieve another year of sales and profit growth," he was quoted as saying.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014