August 16, 2007 / 8:45 PM / 11 years ago

Elizabeth Arden reports fourth-quarter profit vs loss

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden Inc. RDEN.O reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by strong sales in international markets and higher demand for its fragrances.

The company also gave a profit forecast for the coming year that was above current Wall Street estimates. But it forecast a loss for the current quarter, saying it would boost media spending.

Net income came to $9.6 million, or 33 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended June 30, compared with a loss of $1.9 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding the effect of debt extinguishment and restructuring charges, profit was 34 cents a share in the latest quarter, better than the 18 cents analysts expected, according to Reuters Estimates.

Quarterly sales at Arden, known for its namesake and Britney Spears perfumes, rose 28 percent to $242.7 million, driven by new fragrance brands and higher sales in global markets.

In addition to strong demand for Britney Spears fragrances, the company cited success with a perfume named for novelist Danielle Steel, saying it was a leading brand for Mother’s Day at retailers J.C. Penney Co. (JCP.N), Kohl’s Corp. (KSS.N) and Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD.O)

Arden had previously said that Riviera Concepts Inc. and Sovereign Sales — companies it acquired last year — are expected to add to earnings in fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2008.

Those acquisitions added brands such as the Hummer Fragrance for Men and the Badgley Mischka perfume to a lineup that already includes popular Elizabeth Taylor brands like White Diamonds and Passion.

Arden’s results contrasted with those of rival Estee Lauder Cos. (EL.N), which earlier on Thursday posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and forecast earnings for the current quarter and fiscal year well below Wall Street estimates.

For the fiscal year ending in 2008, Elizabeth Arden expects sales to rise 5 percent to 7 percent, and earnings in the range of $1.65 to $1.75 per share.

For the first quarter, Arden forecast a loss of 3 cents to 5 cents a share, saying it would boost media spending for a new fragrance named for singer Mariah Carey.

Analysts currently expect $1.58 a share for next year and profit of 7 cents a share for the first quarter, according to Reuters Estimates.

Reporting by Karen Jacobs and Aarthi Sivaraman, editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Phil Berlowitz

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