Symrise Reports Fiscal 2008; Growth in Fragrance Sales

Symrise reported fiscal 2008 sales of €1.32 billion, a 6.5% gain. Symrise’s sales in emerging markets grew by 8%, in local currencies, accounting for 39% of total sales in 2008. The company’s U.S. sales increased 25%, and its EBITDA margin of 19.9% was on a par with other leading companies in the global fragrance and flavor industry. Although Symrise expects first half of 2009 to be weaker than 2008, it anticipates strong operating free cash flow for 2009 as a whole.

“Despite the challenging business environment, we consider our core business to be as stable and robust as ever,” said Gerold Linzbach, CEO, Symrise. “As a result of the strategic decisions taken in recent years, we are well positioned to grow faster than the market in 2009 as well.”

Symrise’s scent and care sales for 2008 to its 10 largest customers rose by 7%. According to Symrise, the acquisition of the U.S. businesses of Manheimer Fragrances and Intercontinental Fragrances has transformed the company into one of the leading fragrance manufacturers in the U.S. air freshener and scented candle (air care) market, and Symrise plans to open a global air care Center in the U.S. in 2009. The North American market for air care products totals more than $300 million, according to the company's release, and the U.S. constitutes 10% of the overall fragrances market.

Further, by opening a new creative center in Shanghai, the scent and care division continues to recognize the growing importance of China and the entire North Asian region. The creative center serves as a new regional headquarters for Northeast Asia, which will serve China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Similarly, Symrise has strengthened its position in the rapidly growing markets in Southeast and Eastern Europe. The subsidiary in Vienna has been expanded in order to better serve customers in these markets. Symrise has opened a new development center in Moscow, as well as a new sensory and consumer research center, which will help to satisfy customer requirements in this market more quickly.

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