UPDATE 2-Revlon posts Q1 profit as expenses fall

Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:14am EDT

* Q1 EPS 25 cents vs loss 5 cents/shr

* Q1 revenue down 3 pct * Q1 US revenue up 8 pct

* Reduces debt by $38.3 mln

* Shares up 30 pct before the bell (Adds details, background, share movement)

April 30 (Reuters) - Revlon Inc (REV.N) posted a surprise first-quarter profit, helped by lower expenses and strong demand for its color cosmetics in the United States, sending shares up 30 percent in trading before the bell.

The results come a day after rival Bare Escentuals Inc BARE.O topped analyst estimates, banking on lower costs and sales of more low-priced a la carte products, which carry a higher margins.

Quarterly results for New York-based Revlon were also helped by higher pipeline shipments and introduction of newer color cosmetics, the company said in a statement.

Revlon, which introduced matching nail and lip colours more than 75 years ago, saw U.S. retail sales of color cosmetics grow over 9 percent during the quarter, riding mainly on the success of its popular namesake and Almay color cosmetics and Revlon ColorSilk hair color brands.

The company, which also sells its products under the Charlie, and Mitchum brands among others, earned $12.7 million, or 25 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $2.5 million, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Net revenue at the company, controlled by financier Ronald Perelman, dropped 3 percent to $303.3 million, but excluding foreign currency fluctuations of $20.3 million, net sales rose by 3.8 percent.

One analyst was expecting a loss of 23 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

During the first quarter, it reduced debt by $38.3 million, the company said in a statement.

Selling, general and administrative expenses fell 7 percent to $160.2 million.

Shares of the company, which promoted Chief Financial Officer Alan Ennis to Chief Executive on Wednesday, were at $4.61 in trading before the bell. They had closed $3.54 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy, Anil D'Silva)

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