L'Oreal ready to buy shareholder Nestle's stake in the firm: CEO

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PARIS (Reuters) - L'Oreal OREP.PA stands ready to buy Nestle's NESN.S 23 percent stake in the firm should its Swiss shareholder choose to sell, and it could finance a purchase through cash, by selling its Sanofi SASY.PA stake or by borrowing, L'Oreal's CEO said.

“If Nestle one day wants to sell, we are ready,” L’Oreal’s Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon told a news conference on Friday, after the cosmetics company released its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.

“We have 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in cash, we have the Sanofi stake. We are also a very serious and loyal and active shareholder in Sanofi, but in case we will be ready and I’m sure if it was not enough, we have many love letters from banks that have said that they would love to lend us some money.”

Agon added that any decision to sell was in Nestle’s hands.

($1 = 0.8149 euros)

Reporting by Sarah WhiteEditing by Sudip Kar-Gupta