France's Interparfums outlook hits market forecasts

(Reuters) - French perfume maker Interparfums IPAR.PA forecast on Tuesday annual sales of close to 300 million euros (269.34 million pounds), pointing to an improvement in order intake that suggests a gradual recovery in business.

This was in line with sales of 299.7 million euros that analysts expected in a company-compiled consensus.

Interparfums, which develops perfumes as well as cosmetic lines for luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo, Coach and Montblanc, also reported a half-year operating margin of 7.5%, beating its own forecast from late July of around 5%.

The group adjusted its expenses, notably for marketing and advertising campaigns moved forward to the second half of the year and 2021.

These results highlight the group’s capacity to maintain a good level of profitability even in a degraded environment, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Philippe Santi said in a statement.

The company has nonetheless been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic during the first half, as it was forced to close most of its points of sales for several weeks.

The group reported a first-half operating profit down 73% year-on-year, at 10.4 million euros.

The firm, which generates most of its revenues in Europe and North America, had initially targeted 500 million euros in 2020 sales and an operating margin of 14% to 14.5%, but withdrew its initial guidance in April, citing uncertainty from the pandemic.

Reporting by Charles Regnier; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Clarence Fernandez