The Board of Directors of L'OREAL met on 22 April 1997. After hearing the reports of the auditors, the Board approved the final Consolidated accounts for 1996, with no change to the estimated results published on 27 February 1997 as follows :
(in FF billions) 1996 growth on 1995
Consolidated sales 60.3 + 13,1 %
Operating profit 7.3 + 17,6%
Profit on ordinary activities before
taxation, employee profit-sharing and
6.6 + 12.7%
Net profit before capital gains and losses,
after minority interests
3.7 + 10,3%
Operating profit was up 17.6%, lifted by the increase in operating profit for the cosmetics sector and the sharp improvement in profitability for pharmaceuticals activities. Despite the interest expenses resulting from the acquisition of new subsidiaries (MAYBELLINE, JADE, INTERBEAUTY, HENNING BERLIN and GIULIANI S.A.), profit on ordinary activities before taxation and employee profit-sharing grew by 12.7 %, marking the twelfth consecutive year of double digit growth.

Consolidated net profit before capital gains and losses, after minority interests, which reflected the increase in corporate taxation and in the portion paid to minority interests, rosé by 10.3 %to FF 3.7 billion.

BUSINESS BY SECTOR

COSMETICS
Consolidated cosmetics sales were FF 49 billion, representing 81.2 % of the Group's turnover.
Consolidated cosmetics sales by division (FF billions) 1995 1996
Consumer 21.9 26.2
Perfumes and Beauty 12.7 13.5
Salon
5.5 5.8
Active Cosmetics 2.7 2.7
Other Cosmetics 0.5 0.8
Consumer
This division continued to grow its business with sales up 9 % on a comparable basis and 20 % on published figures, primarily as a result of the acquisition of MAYBELLINE. Major signatures for the division are: L'Oréal Paris, Gemey Paris, Maybelline New York, Laboratoires Garnier Paris and LaScad.

Perfumes and Beauty
The division recorded substantial gains in market share, particularly in Asia, North America and Eastern European countries. Skincare and make-up products enjoyed the highest growth. The main brands are : Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein and Biotherm. Fragrances marketed include Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Cacharel, Paloma Picasso, Lanvin and Guy Laroche.

Salon
The division expanded its growth and strengthened its world leadership position. Sales surged by 30 % in Latin America, 25 % in Asia and tripled in Eastern Europe. Leading brands include : L'Oréal Professionnel, Kérastase, Redken and Inné.

Active Cosmetics
The division's policy of refocusing on the dermo-cosmetics health sector, and launching more high added value products based on new technology began to pay off in 1996. The division's brands are Vichy, Phas and La Roche-Posay.

DERMATOLOGY

Sales for GALDERMA exceeded FF 1 billion for the first tune, with 92 % of this figure being generated outside France. Differin, the new acne treatment, enjoyed outstanding success in ail the countries where it was launched.

SYNTHÉLABO

In 1996, turnover for SYNTHÉLABO was FF 10.43 billion, up 11.9 % on published figures and 11.5 % on a comparable basis. In 1996, SYNTHÉLABO strengthened its presence outside France, where it generated 63 % of its turnover. SYNTHÉLABO'S seven strategic products : Stilnox®, Tildiem®, Dogmatil®, Aspégic®, Xatral®, Tiapridal® and Solian® now represent more than 52 % of its pharmaceutical sales.


DlVIDEND
At the Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors of L'Oréal will propose a net dividend of FF 14 giving a total pay-out of FF 21 including the tax credit of FF 7. The dividend will be payable as of 1 July 1997.
The dividend proposed for 1996 compares with a net payment of FF 13.30 last year, on a number of shares which is 10 % higher as a result of the one for ten bonus share allocation on 1 July 1996.

The increase in total net dividends distributed is 15.8 % on 1995 and reflects the dividends paid on bonus shares.