Premium Beauty News - A few words about Inter Parfums and the economic environment of the latest months. What is the outlook on 2010?

Philippe Benacin - Against all expectations, the year 2009 wasn’t that bad eventually. Remember that in 2008 our turnover exceeded 264 million Euros and that, in 2009, it will be on a trend of just over 252 million Euros. The drop is relatively limited, especially as our business in 2008 had profited from very positive opportunities in terms of launches. In addition, last year finally ended up on a very good trend.

In terms of strategy, the group is significantly strengthening its prospects with:

- creation of a new development strategy with the preparation of a complete line of make-up under the Burberry brand name. This line, the launch of which is planned during next summer, will facilitate a better visibility of perfumes at a retail level;
- diversification of the portfolio materialized next fall by the signature of a license agreement with the luxury brand Jimmy Choo.

As for this year, it promises to be full of new quality initiatives and should help our sales exceed 265 million Euros, an increase of over 9% in constant currency values compared to 2009, with in particular:

- a line of fragrances for women and men, Burberry Sport in February;
- a line of fragrances for women, Oriens by Van Cleef & Arpels in March;
- a Burberry make-up line in June;
- lines of women’s fragrances under the brand names Lanvin and ST Dupont in July;
- a line of men’s fragrances under the brand name Van Cleef & Arpels in September.

Philippe Benacin, CEO of Inter Parfums

Philippe Benacin, CEO of Inter Parfums

Premium Beauty News - The crisis has not yet finished causing damage upstream of the sector, taking into account, among other factors, de-stocking policies which never seem to end.

Philippe Benacin - Well, good news concerning de-stocking policies, they are over! Our stock levels are extremely low and the year 2010 will be totally different. We will be ordering again!

Premium Beauty News - What about this license agreement with Montblanc?

Philippe Benacin - With leading positions in writing instruments, watches and leather goods, a promising development in women’s jewelry, an active presence in more than 70 countries, a network of 350 owned stores and high requirements on quality design and products, Montblanc has a potential for growth in fragrances and derived products. This partnership with a hundred-year old luxury brand acknowledged worldwide, reinforces the development prospects of our group in the segment of selective perfumery.

Premium Beauty News - This is undoubtedly one of the peculiarities of your group, total subcontracting, industrially speaking. What do you think is the balance to find between subcontracting in Europe, and more particularly in France, and Asia?

Philippe Benacin - Quite true! And by the way, the induced jobs represent, in my opinion, at least 600 people. As for the breakdown, it is clear that the filling is a 100% achieved in France, the purchase of components is done mostly in Europe (70% to 75%), not much in the United States and finally, very little in Asia (except for zamac).

This is largely due to the fact that our business is essentially focused on the perfume segment. A configuration which changes of course a little with Burberry’s new activity in make-up, especially concerning packaging where Asia has clearly taken a strong position. But remember that Italy remains a major player in the area of cosmetic ingredients.

Premium Beauty News - Will your arrival in the make-up segment also extend to other brands you own?

Philippe Benacin - In principle, no! This is justified with Burberry considering what the turnover of this brand accounts for within Inter Parfums (EUR 160 million). Remember that our second brand has a turnover of 40 million Euros. But I would like to underline that, on a marketing point of view, make-up is definitely a powerhouse for a brand. A drive that must not be neglected.