Sensient sees small rise in Q4 earnings

Related tags Exchange rates Income statement Revenue Generally accepted accounting principles

Flavors company Sensient Technologies said last week that
fourth-quarter earnings rose 2.5 percent, lifted by foreign
exchange rates and higher profit from sales of traditional flavors
in Europe and North America.

Revenue for the fourth quarter increased 12 percent to $272.3 million, up from $243.1 million for the same period in 2003. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2004 increased 2.5 percent to 41 cents compared to 40 cents for the prior year's fourth quarter.

The flavors and fragrances group revenue also had a successful quarter, up 6.2 percent to $160.9 million, while operating profit was $17.5 million compared to $19.9 million in the same period last year.

"Group revenue in 2004 benefited from favorable foreign exchange rates and growth in sales of traditional flavors in the North American market,"​ said Sensient on Tuesday. The company added that operating income was favorably impacted by foreign exchange rates and higher profitability from sales of traditional flavors in Europe and North America.

Sensient​ said it expected its diluted earnings per share to be $1.65.

"We are on track to achieve our cash flow and debt reduction objectives,"​ said Kenneth Manning, the company CEO. "We expect our businesses to continue to strengthen in 2005."

Analyst John M McMillin of Prudential Financial said on​ that he maintained his "underweight" rating on the company. He is quoted as as saying in a research note published on Tuesday that the company's Q4 EPS was supported by significant one-time gains The latest quarter reflects a charge of $1.9 million, or 4 cents a share, related to the sale of a small flavor product line and that its fundamentals continue to be weak.

Created more than 120 years ago, Sensient - that in 2000 changed its name from the Universal Foods corporation - over the past few years has moved from a commodity driven business into value added, more sophisticated products. In the past seven years the 3500 strong firm has secured 20 acquisitions, and more than half of its revenues are from non-US operations.

The company is present in 28 locations in Europe, and about a quarter of revenue comes from this geographical zone. The company now has a 2.8 percent global share of the fragrance and flavors market.

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