* 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
* Sales growth driven by emerging markets
* Shares rise 1 percent, outperform sector
(Adds analyst comment, share price, background)
ZURICH, Oct 9 (Reuters) - A focus on everyday essentialslike toothpaste and shampoo, and strong demand for perfumes inemerging markets, will help Swiss fragrance and flavour makerGivaudan beat a tough economy and consumer goodsrivals, it predicted on Tuesday.
The company confirmed its mid-term goals after third-quartersales came in at the high end of expectations, helped by apositive currency impact and growth in emerging markets.
"This is our main growth segment. They (emerging markets)keep up fantastically well, which is vindicating our strategy,"a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
Givaudan is largely geared towards consumer products andfood and beverages, and has in the past proven resilient toeconomic downturns, similarly to defensive food stocks such asNestle .
The Geneva-based company also makes fragrances for Diorand Prada perfumes and is therefore able tocapitalise on demand for luxury goods in Asia.
Emerging markets constitute 43 percent of Givaudan's overallsales, and growing demand there has helped to offset slacknessin Europe due to the debt crisis.
Thanks to growth in Asia and Latin America, Givaudanconfirmed that for the next five years it is targeting salesgrowth of up to 5.5 percent, against expectations for broadermarket growth of 2 to 3 percent.
"Global market leadership, innovative products, a strongpipeline and rising spending for consumer goods as well as atrend towards healthier food are just some of the ingredientsspeaking in favour of Givaudan," Bank Notenstein said in a note.
Shares in the firm rose 1.25 percent by 0925 GMT, comparedwith a 0.4 percent weaker sector index .
The company, which competes with Germany's Symrise, American International Flavors & Fragrancesand unlisted Swiss company Firmenich, also confirmed its goal toreturn over 60 percent of its free cash flow to shareholdersonce it has met its target for a leverage ratio of 25 percent.
That could be as early as next year, the spokesman said.
The group said sales rose to 1.105 billion Swiss francs($1.18 billion) in the third quarter, from 966 million a yearago and compared with an average analyst forecast of 1.078billion. Givaudan did not provide any profit figures.
Sales for the first nine months of the year rose 8.8 percentto 3.231 billion Swiss francs, with double-digit growth inconsumer products more than offsetting weaker sales of fragranceingredients mainly in Europe and North America.
($1 = 0.9284 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)
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