PARIS - French beauty products giant L'Oreal pledged to improve sales and earnings in 2010 as it posted in-line 2009 profit but fourth-quarter luxury sales that missed market forecasts.
The maker of Garnier shampoo and Vichy creams said on Monday it had come out of 2009 stronger and had prepared itself well for a return to sales and results growth in 2010.
L'Oreal posted a 5.4 percent fall in 2009 earning before interest and tax (EBIT) to 2.578 billion euros ($3.5 billion), in line with expectations for 2.594 billion based on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.
Revenues from luxury products, such as Lancome lipstick and Cacharel perfume, fell 4.7 percent on a comparative basis during the fourth quarter while sales from products used in hair salons fell 1.5 percent.
Meanwhile, revenue generated by L'Oreal's consumer products division, traditionally more resilient than other units, rose 5.2 percent during the fourth quarter on a like-for-like basis.
The group proposed raising the dividend 4.2 percent to 1.5 euros. (Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt, Editing by Dan Lalor) ($1 = 0.7345 euro)