L'Oreal says still has firepower for deals

BOCA RATON, Florida Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:51pm EST

The packaging of a L'Oreal cosmetics group product is displayed in an supermarket in Lanton, Southwestern France, August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The packaging of a L'Oreal cosmetics group product is displayed in an supermarket in Lanton, Southwestern France, August 30, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Regis Duvignau

BOCA RATON, Florida (Reuters) - French cosmetics maker L'Oreal (OREP.PA) still has the firepower to pursue acquisitions even after spending 6.5 billion euros to buy back 8 percent of its shares from Nestle (NESN.VX), a senior executive said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Florida, L'Oreal executives said the share buyback did not crimp its flexibility at all.

"We still have a robust balance sheet," said Christian Mulliez, L'Oreal's executive vice president of administration and finance. "We have huge capacity for every kind of step, including acquisitions."

The maker of Garnier shampoos, Lancome creams and Maybelline makeup said earlier on Thursday that it had agreed to buy skin care brands Decleor and Carita from Japan's Shiseido Co (4911.T) for about 230 million euros ($316.3 million).

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in Boca Raton, Florida; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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