International Conference Call
Quarter 2010 Earnings Release
October 22, 2010
Operator: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. At this time we would like to
welcome everyone to Natura's 20
Quarter Conference Call. Today with us
we have Mr. Alessandro Carlucci, the CEO; Roberto Pedote, the CFO and Helmut
Bossert, the Investor Relations.
We would like to inform you that this event is being recorded and all participants
will be in listen-
only mode during the Company's presentation. After Natura's
remarks are completed there will be a question and answer session. At that time
further instructions will be given. Should any participant need assistance during this
call, please press star zero (*0) to reach the operator.
We have simultaneous webcast that may be accessed through Natura's IR website
. The slide presentation may be downloaded from this
website. There will be a replay facility for this call on the website.
Before proceeding, let me mention that forward-looking statements are being made
under the safe harbor of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996. Forward-
looking statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Natura
Management and on information currently available to the Company. They involve
risks, uncertainties and assumptions, because they relate to future events and
therefore depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future.
Investors should understand that general economic conditions, industry conditions
and other operating factors could also affect the future results of Natura and could
cause results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking
Now, I will turn the conference over to Mr. Alessandro Carlucci, the CEO. Mr.
Carlucci, you may now begin.
Mr. Alessandro Carlucci: Good morning everyone and welcome to our
conference call for our 3Q results. We are very pleased with our good results in the
quarter. We saw a significant increase in revenues, both in Brazil and in the
international operations, reaching 21.5% growth in the period.
Ebitda was strong with a margin of 25.1%. The sales channel, the innovation and
the main indicators continue to post very positive results. In a while Roberto
Pedote will go into more detail about our financial results.
We still do not have current market share data from the Brazilian CF&T Association
because some members did not provide their information. However, with the 22%
growth in net revenues in the first nine months of the year we expect our market
share to have increased consistently in the period. We only have the official data
from the first bimester, when we had reached 23.7% market share and that was
0.9 percentual points higher than the previous year.
The innovation Index remains high with major product launches which kept at 67%,
practically stable over 2Q and in line with our expectations. In 3Q we launched 23
new products, which together with the launches in the first half of the year totals 75
products launched this year - not including the launches of the new makeup line
UNA, which will have a greater impact on 4Q.
We continue to develop new, innovative products and I would like to share with you
our most significant launches this quarter: New Amó line (Natura's largest
fragrance launch of 2010, which offers products inspired by Brazilian expressions
of love); the second edition of Açaí products (part of the EKOS line, which in 2010
complements the 2009 line with body lotion, hand cream and liquid soap) and at
the end of the quarter we launched a new premium makeup line - Natura UNA,
presenting a new concept unifying sophistication, high performance and
Another important launch was the new refill for the Todo Dia line. The new
packaging has 83% less plastic and reduces greenhouse gas emission by 77%.
Turning now to our consultant basis, our consolidated sales force grew 18.3% in
the quarter to 1.169 million consultants. In Brazil the channel grew 70.3% and I just
want to point out that in this quarter for the first time we are comparing figures from
the fully operational Natura super consultant (CNO model) implemented in 3Q09.
Today the indicators that measure quality of the channel (like turnover) well below
what we saw before implementation of this model. We are very comfortable with
the health of our sales team.
About productivity we saw 0.9% growth in the quarter and 1.6% growth in the first
nine months of the year in Brazil. Another very important project we are working on
is the overhaul of our logistic models, which is still being implemented. First it is
important to remember that this project is about improving services to our
consultants in Brazil and abroad.
But in addition to that we are going to optimize costs, improving our working capital
with a more efficient inventory management strategy and last but not least we are
going to reduce our environmental impact.
We already opened two new distribution centers in Brazil in addition to expanding
centers across Latin America. The new centers are in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais
State and in Castanhal, near Belém, Pará State and have been operational since
the start of October.
Now I would like to talk about our international operations and reaffirm that we
continue to be very confident in our strategy, which will actually be more apparent
next year when investments made this year should start to take effect. We have
developed several actions for the operations, which will have effect in the medium
I would like to highlight a few of them: the Buenos Ayres-based executive team is
practically complete now with the new general manager for the region. This team is
charged with the mission of better applying our strategy of categories and brands
adopted for consumers in each country. So this is reinforcing our strategy of
Our expansion plans include outsourced local production. We will be in production
... begin production
in Argentina this year and next year in Mexico and Colombia.
The implementation of a customized sales model, which is still in progress, should
be operational in at least one of the countries in the first half of 2011.
Finally I would like to comment about the provisional measure, the MP 497. As you
know, it changes the PIS and COFINS taxation, affecting all cosmetics, fragrance
and toiletries companies, including all sales channel - that is, direct sales, retail and
franchises - in addition to several other sectors. Representing the industry,
ABIPEC, the CF&T Association, met with the Executive Secretary of the Finance
Ministry last Friday, October 16, and they decided to postpone the date that the MP
goes into effect until March 2011, allowing us to have more time to analyze the
impact. We are waiting for this decision to be officially sanctioned, which we expect
in the next few days.
Now I would like to ask Roberto to give you the details of our 3Q financial results.
Mr. Roberto Pedote: Good morning everyone. I would like to start by presenting
some data about our 3Q performance. Consolidated net revenue was almost 1.6
billion, growing 21.5% in this quarter, reflecting the strength of our brands and our
operations in the Brazilian market. In the year revenues reached 3.6 billion, also
presenting a strong growth of 22.5%.
In 3Q Ebitda was 323 million with a 25.3% margin and in the first nine months we
saw Ebitda of almost 900 million with a 25.1% margin. Net income was 192 million
in the quarter and 525 million in the first nine months, which as you know was
impacted by the increase in the income tax rate due to the end of the goodwill
amortization in 2009.
Also I would like to highlight that the gross margin in the quarter reached 71.6%,
the largest margin in recent years, reflecting cost dilution and productivity gains in
purchasing and a very efficient promotional strategy, specifically in this quarter.
Sales expenses behaved as expected. Increase in marketing investment, dilution
of costs with the sales and efficiency gains in logistics with improved service level
and lower inventories.
In the international operation we also saw a performance in line with our
expectations. Total revenue of these operations were 97 million, growing 32% in
local currency. Excluding an operational issue that generated a backlog in the last
two days of the month, this growth would have been around 36%. Here we would
like to point out that specifically in this quarter we had a concentration of
investments in marketing, especially in operations in consolidation to support our
brand building in these counties.
Another significant positive topic is working capital. In the year working capital was
up almost 60 million. We are reducing gradually inventory supply days, increasing
creditors and reducing the balance of recoverable taxes.
To close I would like to highlight that we have maintained our net debt position.
Two thirds of our debt matures in long-term and today net debt represents 0.3 of
Thank you very much, now let us go to our Q&A session.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin the Question and
Answer session. If you have a question please press the star key, followed by the
one key (*1) on your touch-tone phone. If at any time you would like to remove
yourself from the questioning queue, press star two (*2).
Our first question comes from Mr. Robert Ford from Bank of America.
Mr. Robert Ford: Hey, good day everybody and thanks for taking the question.
Alessandro, I was wondering if you could expand a little bit more about the prestige
niche of the Brazilian marketplace with respect to ... in terms of size today, how
rapidly that segment is growing and maybe the initial experiences you are seeing
And Roberto, if you could expand a little bit more on the issues that you are having
at the international businesses please.
Mr. Carlucci: Hi Bob, here is Alessandro speaking. Well, UNA is positioned in the
premium price in the makeup category and it is a place in the market where we
should have a very good position because of the position of our brand. That is why
we were expecting a lot to have this launch and the first results are very good not
only in sales, but mainly the opinion of the professionals that is very good, they are
saying that the UNA is a very, very good and high-quality makeup line and also the
reception of our consultants was very good.
So this is a very important launch, again, because Natura must have a very good
position in this price segment and even though it is a prestige or a premium, it is
not a niche, because we are not talking about the most expensive price points like
the imported brands or the luxury brands. To give you an example, the price of a
lipstick, UNA lipstick, is around R$ 25 and ... between R$ 25 and R$ 30 and the
luxury brand the price is 60, between 60 and 100. So when we talk about premium
we are not talking about the luxury one.
Mr. Pedote: Bob hi. In relation to what I mentioned is that we have implemented a
new system recently in Argentina and in the last two days we have had some
issues with invoices and then we shifted some sales from 3Q to 4Q, because in the
last two days we had a higher backlog due to the new system. The problem is
already solved, but the impact was in total growth of the quarter, for all international
operations, was around 2% ... sorry, 3%, because I said the growth was 33 if we
did not have seen that it would be 36. It means that 4Q probably is going to show a
3% higher growth than it should due to this backlog issue.
Mr. Ford: Thank you Roberto and were there any other timing issues in the quarter
with maybe expenses pulled forward from which typically occurs in the 4Q pulled
forward to 3Q or any other revenue recognition issues that might affect
were timing related?
Mr. Pedote: No, there is no time revenue recognition issues, only that that I
mentioned. But what I mentioned also is that with these small operations we had a
concentration of marketing investments in the operations in consolidation due to
the launches that was quite significant in 3Q.
And then if you saw the Ebitda it did not increase a lot, in fact it was lower than the
same period last year because we had more marketing investment as part of our
strategy and this will happen quarter by quarter, because in some moments we are
going to have higher marketing investment in one quarter than in another quarter
and this happened in this 3Q, but nothing related to revenue recognition. It is
related to the strategy of starting to invest in brands in the countries in
Mr. Ford: Ok I understand, thank you for clarifying that. I was just curious, my
understanding was that typically of a major annual relationship manager event that
takes place in October that was pulled forward into September and there were also
a couple of distributions centers that have been opened up at the very end of
September where you bore most of the expenses of those openings in 3Q, but you
will see the benefit from that regional distribution infrastructure in 4Q. Are those
perceptions correct and how big might those impacts be?
Mr. Carlucci: Bob, I think that all the things that you mentioned they are not going
to impact significantly the results in 4Q. The new distribution centers they are more
important in the medium and long-term, they are more related with a better service
to allow us with capability, infrastructure, than really decrease the costs. So those
things are not going to impact the last quarter - neither positive, or negative.
Mr. Ford: Ok thank you very much.
Mr. Carlucci: Thank you.
Mr. Pedote: Thank you Bob.
Operator: Excuse me. Our next question comes from Mr. Reinaldo Santana from
Mr. Reinaldo Santana: Hi yes good morning everyone, thank you for the call. I
have two questions, the first one is related to input cost. There has been talk in the
market of rising inflation of certain raw materials for next year, so I was wondering
if you start to negotiate for next year prices if you start to see some pressures on
input cost, this is the first one.
The second in the press release you mentioned projects and investment in
innovation and changes in personnel structure that drove administrative expenses.
I just wonder if you could explain a little bit more on this please. Thank you.
Mr. Pedote: Hi Reinaldo. So far we have been ... not in terms of raw materials. So
far we are not seeing any important pressure in this area. What is a little bit more
difficult today if freight and freight in Brazil is a little bit more expensive. But so far
we have a very good program in our supply with our sourcing team and we are
having very good benefits from our strategy and the negotiations are quite positive
In relation to administrative expenses what happened is first, that we were able to
invest the 3% that we aim in innovation in this quarter and this represented an
increase. And in this area what we have been saying is that we are investing more
in some structural projects to guarantee our future and then we have more
investment in projects and we have also some increase in our structure with some
additional people to support all of these initiatives and to support the growth that
we are having. This was the main impact, most of them impacted by the innovation
in this quarter.
Mr. Santana: Ok great, thank you very much.
Operator: Excuse me. Our next question comes from Ms. Lore Serra from Morgan
Ms. Lore Serra: Yes good morning and congratulations on the strong quarter. I
had a couple of questions, let me ask them separately. First I understand that you
are not getting the industry data; but obviously you are in the market every day and
you have to view on how the industry is doing. I just wanted your impression: as
you are growing your revenue more this year than last year is it your view that the
industry growth is accelerating or do you think you are taking more market share
than you were a year ago?
Mr. Carlucci: high Lore, here is Alessando speaking. We believe that we are
gaining market share and as you mentioned we do not have the data from the
market and I believe that the market probably grew in the same level of the last
year. But we do not know. What we believe - and it is a belief only now - looking for
the market is that we gained market share.
Ms. Serra: Ok and then I wanted to ask a specific question and I think the question
I asked last quarter as well: if I look at your price per unit in Brazil it grew 16% in
3Q and it grew at a similarly high pace in 2Q and what I am trying to see that is
much more looking historically, so now we are seeing two quarters in a row; is
there anything specifically that could cause a big mix shift in your product mix in
Mr. Carlucci: No, there is nothing specific, but there are some things that explain
and first of all, Lore, as you know our business is influenced by the mix of our
products and as you know we promote half of our products, so sometimes you see
some changes in the average price but this is not a trend or strategy, it is only a
reflection of the launches, or sometimes or promotions in one category than the
other when you compare with the previous year.
But talking about this year I think that two things are relevant to share: the first one
is our increase in price. In this year it was more effective than in the previous
years; and the other thing is that we are having better promotional dates
campaigns like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, are growing more
than the rest of our lines and this also helps our price to be a little bit higher. The
price per unit grew a little bit.
And also in this quarter, as you saw, we had two of the major launches that helped
us to increase also a little bit: The Amó that is a fragrance line, so the price per unit
is a little bit above the average; and also UNA that is a prestige makeup line. But
these are some things to explain, but this is not the trend. Again, this is an effect of
our marketing mix strategy that can sometimes raise a little bit, sometimes you can
lose a little bit the price per unit.
Ms. Serra: Thank you very much.
Mr. Carlucci: Thank you.
Operator: Excuse me. Our next question comes from Ms. Martha Shelton from
Ms. Martha Shelton: Hi, this is Martha Shelton actually own behalf of Celso
Sanchez. Just regarding your gross margin expansion, I wonder if you could give
us a little more color around more official promotional strategy that drove the gross
And then also I wanted to ask for an update on the original innovation efforts in
Brazil go, just as far as the catalog and region specific price points contained within
the catalog. Thanks.
Mr. Carlucci: Hi Martha, here is Alessandro speaking. This quarter we had a more
efficient promotional effort and of course we tried to increase productivity in the
promotional effort and one of the effects of this is a better margin as you mentioned
and in some way - not only by this - but in some way it was also benefited by the
fact that we are starting to regionalize, as you mentioned, the catalog and the
promotions and the only objective to do this is to increase profitability and also to
help to grow faster, taking into consideration the needs and the characteristics of
So answering your question the regionalization is helping us to increase the gross
margin also, because of these more efficient promotional campaigns.
Ms. Shelton: So just to clarify: you say that maybe there were fewer kits, in this
quarter I guess there were no special events such as Mother's Day or ... just trying
to better understand why the margins grew so much on efficient promotional
Mr. Carlucci: The promotional kits are more related with the growth in the price
per unit. What helped us to increase margin is better negotiation with our suppliers,
of course, but also a more efficient promotional effort. In other words, we are
promoting less products and reaching the same level of growth in revenues, or
giving less discounts than we used to give. So this helped us to increase margin,
and also because we started to regionalize this kind of promotions we can be more
efficient, because we can only promote the right product in the right region. So the
profitability of this effort is increasing.
Ms. Shelton: Perfect, thanks so much for taking the question.
Mr. Carlucci: Thank you.
Operator: Excuse me. Our next question comes from Ms. Margaret Kalvar from
Ms. Margaret Kalvar: Yes, good morning. Given that the multinationals are
reporting very strong sales growth in Latin America, are you seeing any increase in
competitive pressure particularly in the hair care segment from people like L'Oreal,
particularly also outside of Brazil and do you feel this is increasing the
difficulty of establishing the international operations?
Mr. Carlucci: Margaret, in fact you are right. Even though our operations are small
we have been growing in the last years, so in some way we are reaching a size
where we can produce some noise with our competition. Even though we do not
see a specific pressure or movement in the hair care against us, so we are not
feeling any special move in direction to Natura from L'Oreal or even Procter &
Gamble or Unilever that are main players in this category - recognizing that this is
a very competitive category, but we are developing new products, a new strategy
to be competitive and to keep growing and gaining market share not only in Brazil
but also in Latin America in this category.
Ms. Kalvar: Ok and in skin care are you seeing higher growth in the skincare
category than in other categories of the overall cosmetics line?
Mr. Carlucci: As we mentioned, we do not have actual data, we have only data
from the first two months of the year; but as a whole the skincare category usually
is in the average of the sector, usually is not the category that grows faster or
lower, but usually is in the average and I think this is happening also this year. This
year, as you know, we had a very important launch of the new Chronos line, so we
expect to have good results this year in the skincare.
Ms. Kalvar: Thanks very much.
Mr. Carlucci: Thank you.
Operator: Excuse me. Our next question comes from Ms. Andrea Teixeira from JP
Ms. Andrea Teixeira: Hello, good afternoon everyone, well, congratulations on the
results. I just wanted two questions on first Alessandro, Roberto, if you can
comment on you explained on the Portuguese call regarding the potential tax
changes, but you mentioned as a positive, which obviously you are not going to be
taxed in the month of November, but if they postpone into March even increasing
the chances that the new government that they have to raise more taxes that you
run again into having to lobby the industry - not only you, but to the whole industry
having to lobby again - I just want to understand from your perspective why are you
becoming more optimistic that this is not going to be implemented.
And the second question is regarding a follow up from the previous question about
the margins and I appreciate your elaboration on the kits and how you are
increasing and raising the pricing indirectly for a better mix; but can you comment
also on the regionalization of the promotions? Because as far as I understand the
whole process of having different regions and having different strategies by regions
of Brazil started long ago, but then the promotions I believe started just in the 3Q.
So if I am correct how you see that happening in a very strong season which is
now ... ahead, the holiday season. Can you comment if you expect the same
recurring positive impact on the gross margin? I would appreciate that, thank you.
Mr. Carlucci: Hi Andrea, this is Alessandro speaking. We are, in some way,
optimistic with the MP 497, because the postponement of the MP is a sign that
they are open to discuss, to rediscuss, and we have with our association personal
meetings with them and we showed them the impact - and not positive, negative -
not only for the industry but also for the tax revenues. So they understood and they
said to us we want to go deep, so we are going to postpone to have more time to
So this for us is a positive sign and we will keep working, and strongly, to show to
them that this is not going to be good and even though we are going to have a new
Government - or possibly a new Government - I do not think that anyone would like
to start with news that they are increasing taxation, because they said widely that
they want to decrease the tax impact in Brazil. So we are not afraid to discuss this
in December, in January, but we are happy to know that they are open to discuss
and to analyze deeper the impact of the MP.
Mr. Pedote: In respect also to most part of the discussion will be done in October
and November because the original MP needs to be approved ... even to enter in
March needs to be approved until the end of November. We still need to
understand exactly how they are going to postpone, what are the actions here, but
probably the most part of the discussions will be in the next 40 days.
Ms. Teixeira: Interesting, thank you and regarding the negotiation with the
suppliers and all the things that you are doing regarding the gross margin and the
regional impact that you are doing in the promotion, do you think this is going to be
Mr. Carlucci: You know Andrea, regarding the promotional campaigns and
regarding the catalog of course we are working to increase, but I think that it is
going to be slight, slightly. In other words, it is a gradual improvement and in the
supply area we also started a new cycle of contracts with our suppliers and we
believe that - again, gradually - we could improve our gross margin. We do not
expect to see a huge change in the short term, but we expect that with more scale,
with more efficiency we can slightly improve through time.
Mr. Pedote: And quarter by quarter they are always affected by several aspects. If
you remember last quarter we did not have a good gross margin, it was mainly
affected by higher losses with inventories and also we had more kits last quarter.
As a trend we are working and we should be seeing improvement, but a quarter by
quarter it is quite difficult to predict.
Ms. Teixeira: Ok, thank you very much Alessandro and Roberto.
Mr. Carlucci: Thank you Andrea.
Operator: Excuse me. Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder, if you would like to
pose a question please press star one (*1).
Our next question comes from Ms. Daniela Bretthauer from Raymond James.
Ms. Daniela Bretthauer: Hi, congratulations on the results and I just wanted to go
back to the question of the G&A expenses spike in the quarter. You explain that
there were several events that contributed to the increase, such as more efforts in
innovation, increase in personnel to support the new growth in the region units.
But my concern relates to whether the expected upcoming growth in sales if that
sales is to provide a lever that you expect for this rather bloated G&A structure, I
mean, how confident are you that the things you are doing can provide the kind of
sales growth so that you are not going to have some sort of margin pressure at the
Ebitda margin level from this bloated G&A structure?
Mr. Pedote: Hi Daniela. We need to see integrated with all the aspects as we are
reflecting, for example, in sales expenses. In sales expenses we are diluting costs
in the sales force, the CNO model will allow us increase the channel without fixed
costs. We are having important savings in the logistics since last year and we still
have a strong program to go ahead and we are investing more in marketing from
In SG&A we are expecting in my view innovation probably to increase a little bit.
We are facing some opportunity to make a more robust innovation plan ...
Ms. Bretthauer: But even further from the 3% that it is currently? So would you
increase even further? Because you already increased that from 2.6 to 3, right?
Mr. Pedote: In the quarter; in the year to date not. I would say that in the medium
term I would expect to see higher than 3. I would say that in the medium term yes,
3.2 or 3.3, I do not know how much, but probably we believe that if we are able to
do the right investment in innovation it will be worth to increase a little bit.
And in terms of projects it will depend year by year what are the projects, but as
you see by the Capex, in the other side we are doing more projects at this moment,
we are investing more in IT, in logistics, in all the areas and this is the reflex of that
in the P&L.
And related to the personnel to support all this growth we should see in the
medium term a dilution, because probably we will be able to work with less ... we
will be able to grow much faster than what would require in terms of structure to
support this growth.
I think that this is the combination that we have in our P&L and the key variable of
all of that is the level of the investments that we need to do in a market that will be
more competitive. We are increasing investments in marketing and what is the
level of the investments that will be required year by year in a more competitive
market. This is the equation that we are playing with all these variables.
Ms. Bretthauer: Ok. Let me just play devil's advocate here for second: if for -
hypothetically speaking of course - if the Brazilian economy ... let us say the next
president wants to do the reforms or be more aggressive in whatever so that the
economy slows faster than anyone would be expecting, how quickly could Natura
cut back on some of these things so that Ebitda margin, growth in Ebitda margin, is
not impacted? Because I think your strategy ... my concern is your strategy works
fine in this booming economy; but what if things slow? How quickly could you
reverse some of the things you did?
Mr. Pedote: I think that especially when we talk about marketing investments we
have always been repeating that this is a relative measure, that it is always thinking
about what is happening in the economy, how are competitors are doing and how
much we need. We are not just doing that without looking for the market, and this
is the most variable expense that we can have and we can react for up or down
very fast in this part.
The remaining part most of them we are already going ... when we mentioned
salesforce, logistics costs, all of this they are in the right direction in terms of
improving profitability and I think that we are quite well prepared to face different
macroeconomic scenarios and different growth in the channel.
Mr. Carlucci: And if I can add, Daniela, we do not see any good reason to - in the
medium and long-term - see a change in the growth of our market. Of course that
in the short term sometimes you can have some change in the behavior of the
market, but in the long term the macroeconomics of Brazil are showing that we
have good reasons to be enthusiastic and to invest in our future, taking care in the
short term, of course, and as a Roberto said we are prepared to adjust something if
we need, but we are really optimistic and investing in the future of the market in
Mr. Pedote: And just to add, 47% of brand preference allows us to react according
to that, because things should not go so stronger against us with all of this brand
preference that we have, then we have some space to work due to this.
Ms Bretthauer: Ok thank you.
Mr. Pedote: Thank you.
Ms. Bretthauer: See you next week, bye.
Mr. Pedote: See you.
Operator: Thank you. This concludes today's question and answer session. I
would like to invite Mr. Carlucci to proceed with his closing statements. Please sir,
Mr. Carlucci: I would like to share with you my optimism regarding the Brazilian
economy with the growth of our market and, above all our company, which
continues to develop and present strong results and I would like to reinforce the
invitation to all of you to participate in our investor day that takes place on October
28, next Thursday, in our site in Cajamar here in São Paulo, in Brazil. If you have
not registered please go to www.naturaday.com.br. So see you next week.
Operator: That does conclude Natura
audio conference call for today. Thank you
very much for your participation, have a good day.