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Revlon’s Deeper Red: Firm Posts 17th Straight Quarterly Loss

Revlon Inc.’s net losses for the fourth quarter widened more than sixfold to $179.4 million, extending its losing streak to 17 quarters in a row.

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For the last year, Revlon has been in the investment-intensive "stabilization and growth" phase of its plan, where it still toils, as seen in the fourth-quarter charges.

In stage three, or the "accelerated growth" phase, Revlon hopes to take advantage of all recent adjustments and kick its business into high gear.

While Revlon’s investors and debt holders have been waiting for a turnaround for some time, Stahl said progress is being made. "We continue to gain traction in the marketplace in the form of increased consumption of our brands and market share growth."

North American gross sales picked up 9.7 percent to $291.5 million. However, international sales inched up 0.6 percent to $125 million, up 4 percent before the impact of foreign currency translation.

The firm’s overall market share of mass color cosmetics rose 1.7 share points to 23.6 percent. The Revlon brand picked up 2.2 share points for the quarter to 18 percent, while the Almay brand’s market share fell 0.1 share points to 5.4 percent.

"Our focus, actions and marketplace investments, which began in the second half of 2002, have created the necessary platform for us to further strengthen the business in 2003 by improving the in-store experience with our customers and for our consumers," said Stahl.

Looming over whatever actions the firm takes is its considerable debt, the long-term portion of which stood at $1.75 billion at the end of the 2002, a 6.5 percent rise from a year earlier. So far, Revlon’s received significant financial support from its primary shareholder, Ronald Perelman, through his wholly owned MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings.

Last month, as reported, Revlon entered into an investment agreement with MacAndrews, which includes a $100 million term loan, a $50 million rights offering and a $40 million line of credit that increases to $65 million in 2004.

For the full year, losses grew to $286.5 million, or $5.49 a share, from $153.7 million, or $2.94, in 2001. Sales over the 12 months slid 12.4 percent to $1.12 billion from $1.28 billion during the preceding year.

Industry consultant Allan Mottus, noting the firm’s focus on its marquee brand, said Revlon’s become "a niche player, as opposed to a global beauty company. Maybe the best thing that’s happened to Revlon is that L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble are going after one another and are not trying to take Revlon out at this moment.
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