* Q4 EPS 18 cents vs Wall St 10 cents view
* Net sales up 11 percent to $253.8 mln
* Sees EPS of $1.90-$2.00 for FY'12, 25-35 cents for Q1
* Shares up 12.2 percent to $29.90
(Adds byline, gross margin, licensing detail, new fragrance)
By Eunju Lie
CHICAGO, Aug 11 Elizabeth Arden RDEN.O posted
a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by
the weak dollar and cost cuts, and forecast earnings above
analysts' expectations for the current fiscal year.
The news sent its shares up more than 12 percent after the
stock fell 17 percent earlier in the week.
"The stock is simply recovering from the week," said BMO
Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty.
Elizabeth Arden has been outsourcing its non-core business
activities, including packing and print, as part of a larger
Earnings for the maker of skin-care products and a host of
celebrity fragrances totaled $5.4 million, or 18 cents a share,
compared with $2.3 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same
quarter of 2010. Analysts on average forecast 10 cents a share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales for the fourth quarter were $253.8 million, an
increase of 11.2 percent from $228.2 million last year.
Excluding the impact of the weak dollar, which boosts the
dollar value of sales made overseas, sales rose 7.7 percent.
Elizabeth Arden forecast earnings of $1.90 to $2.00 per
share for 2012, and 25 cents to 35 cents for the first quarter.
The guidance takes into account favorable currency rates of
about 2 percent and strong net sales growth in North America
Analysts on average forecast earnings of 26 cents for the
first quarter and $1.49 a share for the year.
For fiscal year 2011, gross margin increased by 240 basis
points, driven by the 12 percent increase in North American net
sales. The company expects an increase of 200 to 225 basis
points for fiscal year 2012.
Elizabeth Arden also said it would acquire the trademarks
for several fragrance brands from Liz Claiborne Inc LIZ.N and
lower the effective royalty rate it pays to make other
fragrance brands under the Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand names.
The company made a $58.4 million payment to Liz Claiborne and
the transaction will be reflected in the first quarter of
fiscal year 2012. The changes in the licensing agreement should
modestly boost earnings in fiscal year 2012, the company said.
The launch and roll-out of the Taylor Swift celebrity
fragrance, arriving at prestige North American retailers in
October, is a key initiative for fiscal year 2012. The
fragrance "has the potential to be something large," said
Chairman and Chief Executive E. Scott Beattie during the
company conference call.
The company's shares rose 12.2 percent to $29.90 in
afternoon trading on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Eunju Lie; Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen