L’Oréal: commentaires de brokers

Les résultats 2012 de L’Oréal ont été supérieurs aux attentes du consensus, notamment en matière de croissance organique au 4è trimestre (+5,5% vs +5,1% attendus), de marge opérationnelle (16,5% contre 16,4% attendus) et de bénéfice par action ajusté (4,91€ contre 4,78€). Voici les premiers commentaires de courtiers ce matin.

Deutsche Bank (« hold », 105€)

« L’Oreal’s FY12 results were in line at the sales and EBIT level. However the benefit of a one off lower tax rate means EPS came in 1% ahead of our forecast at E4.91, or up 14% YoY. The expected Q4 sales growth pickup materialised and grew 5.3% LFL. This was thanks to a better European performance. Though the outlook for FY13 is confident given the strength of industry demand and L’Oréal’s likely ability to win share, there is also an additional buyback of E0.5bn due to be completed in 1H13. This new news plus a better level of cash conversion, means we slightly raise our EPS levels and set a new E105 target price. Given limited TSR – Hold. »

JPMorgan (« overweight »)

« L’Oréal delivered a solid and balanced performance in FY12. Share gains across the board (particularly in WE & NA and Consumer & Luxury) show the company is on the right track, while margin acceleration in H2 of +30bps shows L’Oréal’s focus on profitable growth. We also welcome the increase in cash return with a 15% DPS rise and a €500m share buyback (for H113), which along the operational delivery should support the shares. »

Kepler (« buy », 120€)

« LFL sales growth is roughly in line with our expectations showing some acceleration versus Q3. Gross margin is in line with our expectations. EBIT margin is up 30bp vs. +40bp. EBIT is up 12.3%. We expected +13.3%, and consensus +11%. By division, there is no major difference versus our expectations . The strong growth of the consumer products EBIT has to be underlined in H2 (+15%), as expected. Luxury goods register some slowdown in EBIT growth (+12% after +21% in H1, as well as a slight decline in EBIT margin (-40bp after +60bp in H1): we suspect this could come from communication investments related to product launches. By region: Europe: EBIT margin: +40bp while we expected a 10bp increase at maximum. North America: flat. We suspect EBIT margin included launch costs on the Advanced Hair care by L’Oréal Paris line, while this launch will hit 2013 sales growth in North America. New markets EBIT margin is up 10bp only. Adjusted EPS is 2% above our estimates thanks to a lower-than-expected tax rate. »

Natixis (« neutre », 96€)

« Résultats légèrement supérieurs aux attentes mais avec des facteurs différents de ceux attendus. La CI de 5,5% sur 2012 et de 5,3% au T4 est rassurante mais l’Asie et le Luxe restent faibles au T4. La CI du Luxe de 6,2% au T4 est inférieure de 0,4 points à celle du T3 alors que la base de comparaison est 2 points plus faible. En Asie (+6,5% au T4), la CI est également inférieure de 0,8 point à celle du T3 alors que la base de comparaison est plus faible de 0,9 points. La très bonne tenue de l’Europe (+1,4% au T4) et du Grand Public (+5,8%) sont donc à souligner. La reprise au Latam (+13,5% de CI au T4) et en Cosmétiques Actives (+7,1% de CI au T4) se confirment. Si la MO progresse en ligne avec nos attentes (+30 pb), nous attendions une moindre baisse de la marge brute. Le S2 bénéficie donc de l’accélération de l’optimisation des A&P (-90 pb) grâce au digital. Enfin, la croissance de 13,6% du BPA ajusté reste soutenue par une baisse du taux d’IS (réforme en Chine) dont nous ne comprenons pas très bien s’il est extrapolable. »

Raymond James Euro Equities (« outperform », 120€)

« 2012 results were slightly above our estimates with a positive surprise at the operating margin level. Unsurprisingly, L’Oréal outperformed the market again in 2012 and we are confident that it could accelerate its pace of growth in 2013. »

RBC (« outperform », 111€)

« Satisfactorily boring results owing to an unlooked for
70bp fall in A&P/sales. Good enough for our Outperform
recommendation. »

Société Générale (« hold », 112€):

« Despite a number of beats and no real misses in these results, we can see the investment debate focusing on the quality of the beats. Evidently, it is an important positive that the Consumer Products LFL improved sequentially despite tougher comps, (2Y stacked LFL 8.3% in Q3 to 9.9% in Q4) presumably driven by better performances by L’Oréal Paris and Garnier. However, Bears may question the sequential slowdown in Luxe, given it had easier comps and the benefit of strong fragrance launches in Q4.
(…)
With no improvement in SG&A/sales either, all the margin beat was driven by an 100bp fall in H2 A&P/sales. It is not so much that lower A&P is a bad thing, rather that the beat was so reliant on this one line. The 2-3% FY12 adj-EPS beat can be ascribed to a one-off tax benefit in China.

(…)

We are looking for the results meeting to reassure on FY13 gross margins and to provide colour behind reported management optimism that sales can accelerate this year. »

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