After more than a decade of being showcased in our Small & Mid-Cap Edition, Inter Parfums, Inc. (IPAR) finally made its way to the main counter and was added to the Value Line Investment Survey late last year. The company develops, manufactures, and distributes prestige perfumes and cosmetics as the exclusive worldwide licensee for a myriad of brands, including Burberry, Van Cleef & Arpels, Paul Smith, S.T. Dupont, and Quicksilver. It also owns Lanvin Perfumes and Nickel, a men’s skin care products maker and produces personal care products for specialty retailers. The Gap (GPS), New York & Company (NWY), and bebe stores (BEBE) are just a few of the companies under exclusive agreement.
The company is an international player, selling products in more than 120 countries. International distribution is conducted under licensing agreements. Foreign sales make up nearly 90% of overall sales, with Europe being its main point of interest. That said, management appears to be taking a bigger interest in Asia, increasing spending in China and Russia, as well as the United States more recently.
Either way, the most recent results have been enticing with the company reporting 17% share-net growth through the first nine months of 2010 (December results were not out as of the day when this article was written). Sales were up similarly through September, thanks to strength at some of its largest brands, particularly Burberry and Lanvin, and should remain healthy going forward.
Although development costs, specifically those associated with the build out of the salesforce and the aforementioned foray into Asia, as well as higher advertising probably tempered growth during the holiday season, early 2011 guidance suggests a rebound. Management currently looks for low double-digit percentage sales and earnings growth, with sales of $515 million and share earnings of approximately $0.95 for the full year. Sales ought to get a boost from some 30 additional carriers of the Burberry line, as well as several new product launches, such as the anticipated Jimmy Choo brand. IPAR has also taken control of the U.S. distribution of its European prestige brands.
The company appears to be in good financial shape too. A healthy cash pile and solid cash flow generation should enable management to continue expanding its presence in Asia, which could produce meaningful results rather soon. Debt is minimal, and the board of directors nearly doubled the quarterly dividend to $0.65 a share last summer. Additional dividend hikes are likely to follow out to mid decade.
But the recent success has not gone unnoticed. Aside from a brief hiccup in mid-summer, the share price was on a relatively steady climb throughout 2010, up more than 60% since January. Although Wall Street would like to see similar returns in 2011, potential investors will probably want to wait to dissect fourth-quarter results before making an investment decision. The stock does have a high beta coefficient and a low Price Stability rank suggesting that disappointing holiday-quarter earnings could present a better buying opportunity for patient investors.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.