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UPDATE 1-Givaudan confident after strong Q3 sales growth

Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012 | 1:57 AM ET

* Q3 sales 1.105 bln vs 1.078 bln Sfr in Reuters poll

* Reiterates mid-term target sales growth of up to 5.5 pct

(Adds detailed guidance, divisions)

ZURICH, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Swiss fragrance and flavour maker Givaudan confirmed its mid-term goals on Tuesday as third-quarter sales came in at the high end of expectations, helped by a positive currency impact and growth in emerging markets.

The Geneva-based company, which makes fragrances for Dior and Prada perfumes, expects to outgrow markets over the next five years. Givaudan reiterated a mid-term target for sales growth of up to 5.5 percent, against expectations for broader market growth of 2 to 3 percent, and an industry leading operating profit margin.

For the third quarter, the group reported sales of 1.105 billion Swiss francs ($1.18 billion), compared to 966 million a year ago, driven by strong growth in Latin America and Asia. Analysts had on average forecast sales of 1.078 billion Swiss francs ($1.16 billion). Givaudan did not provide any profit figures.

The company, which competes with German Symrise , American International Flavors & Fragrances and unlisted Swiss Firmenich, also confirmed its goal to return over 60 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders as soon as its target for a leverage ratio of 25 percent has been met.

Sales for the first nine months of the year rose 8.8 percent to 3.231 billion Swiss francs, with double digit growth in consumer products more than offsetting weaker sales of fragrance ingredients mainly in Europe and North America.

($1 = 0.9284 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Andrew Thompson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

((andrew.thompson@thomsonreuters.com)(Tel. +41 58 306 7448)(Reuters Messaging: andrew.thompson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: GIVAUDAN/