Business of Fashion Beauty

Coty to Take $3 Billion Writedown as It Plots Turnaround Plan

NEW YORK, United States — Cosmetics maker Coty Inc. will take a $3 billion writedown this year as it implements a turnaround plan intended to revive margins, reduce leverage and better keep up with its rivals.

The company wants to simplify its operations by streamlining management and trimming down product lines. It didn’t specify if the restructuring would include job cuts, but the company said it would be “reducing organisational layers,” which could mean as much.

As part of the turnaround plan, Coty will be divided into regional teams in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Americas and Asia Pacific. The company’s management will move to a new headquarters in Amsterdam, which it called “a cost-efficient and tax stable location.”

Coty is under pressure to turn its business around: Revenue has stagnated and earlier this year it took a $965 million writedown on the value of the brands it agreed to purchase from Procter & Gamble Co. in 2015, including Covergirl and Clairol. Coty shares have lost more than half of their value since that deal was announced.

Chief Executive Pierre Laubies, who took over from Camillo Pane in November, seeks to move Coty back into growth with the four-year turnaround plan. “We will focus our strategic effort and investments on fewer brands globally while simplifying our operations and organisation,” he said in the statement.

Next fiscal year, Coty expects a moderating decline in net revenues and better free cash flow. Longer term, it’s targeting three big things by fiscal 2023: operating margins of 14 to 16 percent, $1 billion in free cash flow and reducing its net debt-to-EBITDA to less than four times.

Coty said reached an agreement with banks in order to meet these goals. The company has “ample liquidity” and credit lines of more than $2 billion.

Coty shares rose as much as 3 percent in premarket trading following the announcement.

By Olivia Rockeman; editors: Anne Riley Moffat, Jonathan Roeder.