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UPDATE 1-Givaudan sales growth accelerates in Q3 as perfumes improve

(Adds details of sales, background)

ZURICH, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Flavour and fragrance maker Givaudan said like-for-like sales growth accelerated to 3.1% in the third quarter as demand for items like toothpaste and soap held up and sales of perfume improved slowly.

Like-for-like sales growth was 2.8% in the second quarter.

The Swiss company has so far weathered the COVID-19 pandemic relatively well, but some areas of its portfolio, such as fragrances for perfumes and ingredients for products sold in restaurants or at airports, were hit, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Sales at its fragrance and beauty business rose 4.4% in the three months to September, while its taste & wellbeing unit saw a 1.9% increase.

Givaudan said it was on track to meet its guidance of 4-5% sales growth on average per year over a five-year cycle to the end of 2020 and wanted to maintain its dividend practice. Like-for-like sales were up 3.7% after nine months.

The company announced new mid-term targets in August. It aims to keep growing sales by 4-5% on average each year until 2025, mainly due to acquisitions, a focus on smaller and local customers and fast-growing China. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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