SALES: +6.5%
FURTHER IMPROVEMENT IN OPERATING PROFITABILITY
NET PROFIT*: +37%
NET PROFIT EXCLUDING NON-RECURRENT ITEMS: +10.3%
NET EARNINGS PER SHARE(1): +13.5%

The Board of Directors of L’Oréal met on Wednesday, February 15th 2006 under the chairmanship of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones and in the presence of the Statutory Auditors. The Board closed the group's consolidated financial statements and the financial statements of the L’Oréal parent company for 2005.

At the end of December 2005, sales amounted to €14.53bn, up by +6.5%, reflecting like-for-like growth of +4.8%.
Operating profit before foreign exchange gains and losses amounted to €2,313m, up by +12.7%. This result reflects a strong improvement in operating profitability before exchange gains and losses at 15.9% compared to 15.0% in 2004.
There was a clear improvement in all operating items.
After exchange losses of €47m, operating profit at €2,266m grew by +8.5%, representing 15.6% of sales.
Net profit after minority interests, excluding non-recurrent items, amounted to €1,639m, representing double-digit growth of +10.3%. Net earnings per share amounted to €2.60 up by +13.5%.
Net profit after minority interests at €1,972 m increased sharply by +37% compared with pro forma results for 2004*.

Commenting on the results, Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of L'Oréal, said: "In 2005, L’Oréal's growth once again clearly outperformed the world market, thanks to the powerful appeal of its brands and the success of its new high-value-added products. Growth was driven by good performance in North America and new breakthroughs in emerging markets, while the rates of increase were more modest in Western Europe. Growth in sales combined with strict cost control has enabled us once again to improve profitability and achieve double-digit earnings growth. We are confident about the outlook for 2006 in view of the faster growth in Western Europe at the end of last year and the strong international momentum".

Key annual indicators

At December 31st 2004
IFRS
At December 31st 2004
IFRS
Pro forma*
At December 31st 2005
IFRS
% growth over
pro forma 2004
Sales 13,641 13,641 14,533 +6.5%
Operating profit before foreign exchange gains and losses 2,053 2,053 2,313 +12.7%
Operating profit 2,089 2,089 2,266 +8.5%
Pre-tax profit excluding non-recurrent items 2,334 (*) 2,187 2,370 +8.4%
Net profit after minority interests 3,970 (*) 1,439 1,972 +37%
Net profit excluding non-recurrent items(2) 1,486 1,639 +10.3%
Net earnings per share(1) (in euros) 2.29 2.60 +13.5%
* For the purposes of comparison, the pro forma profit and loss statement has been adjusted to take into account the deconsolidation of Sanofi-Synthélabo on January 1st 2004:
• by replacing the share in the net profit of Sanofi-Synthélabo, i.e. €293.5m, with the dividends received, i.e. €145.9m;
• and by neutralising the dilution capital gain, net of tax, relating to these shares, i.e. €2,854.5m gross and €471.1m tax.

(1) Net earnings per share: diluted net earnings per share based on the net profit excluding non-recurrent items after minority interests.
(2) Net profit excluding non-recurrent items after minority interests does not include capital gains and losses on disposals of long-term assets, impairment of assets, restructuring costs, associated tax effects or minority interests.

Growth in cosmetics sales by operational division and geographic zone

€M Growth Like-for-like
At December 31st 2005(*)
Growth Reported
At December 31st 2005(*)
By operational division
Professionnal products 2,061 +6.1% +7.3%
Consumer products 7,499 +4.6% +6.4%
Luxury products 3,582 +2.7% +3.9%
Active cosmetics 986 +13.5% +17.2%
Cosmetics total 14,215 +4.8% +6.5%
     
By geographic zone
Western Europe 6,742 +0.1% +0.1%
North America 3,868 +6.4% +8.3%
Rest of the world, including : 3,605 +12.6% +18.4%
- Asia 1,375 +7.4% +10.6%
- Latin America 861 +11.3% +23.5%
- Eastern Europe 682 +28.5% +34.3%
- Other Countries 687 +11.5% +15.0%
Cosmetics total 14,215 +4.8% +6.5%
Dermatology (1) 318 +6.3% +8.3%
Group total 14,533 +4.8% +6.5%
(*) All figures are expressed in accordance with IFRS.
(1) Group share, i.e. 50%

Sales of cosmetics divisions

With sales up by 8.5% in the fourth quarter, the Professional Products Division ended the year with like-for-like growth of 6.1%.
The launch of the Kérastase Réflection range was a global success and the new Volumactive range got off to a very promising start. L'Oréal Professionnel continued to grow with the new Majirel hair colourant and Platinium lightening paste. Redken successfully relaunched its range of hair styling products. Matrix launched Color Smart , updated its Biolage range and strengthened its global presence.

Consumer Products Division sales grew by 4.6% like-for-like and 6.4% based on reported figures.
The Garnier brand achieved strong growth, buoyed by the success of its Ultra-Lift skincare range and Nutrisse hair colourants, along with the ongoing appeal of Fructis haircare products. The solid growth of L'Oréal Paris continued with the launch of Revitalift Double Lifting skincare products, Elsève Nutri-Gloss haircare products and Volume Shocking mascara, together with the success of the Men Expert range. Maybelline make-up achieved strong growth with Dream Matte Mousse foundation and Moisture Extreme lipstick.

The Luxury Products Division achieved like-for-like sales growth of 2.7%, reflecting a very significant upturn of 5.2% in the last quarter.
Lancôme is making progress in skincare and make-up with the success of Platinéum skincare and l'Extrême mascara. Hypnôse perfume proved extremely successful, and was a bestseller in all European markets at the end of the year. The Armani brand achieved very strong growth and consolidated its position as the world leader in fragrances for men thanks to the continuing success of Armani Code and the good scores of Emporio City Glam. Lastly, Promesse by Cacharel, Polo Black by Ralph Lauren and Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf all achieved impressive performance in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The Active Cosmetics Division, number one in the market for dermocosmetic skincare products sold in pharmacies, once again produced strong like-for-like growth, up by 13.5%.
This stems from the success of launches and relaunches such as Lift-Activ Pro anti-wrinkle firmness skincare products from Vichy and Aminexil SP94 hair loss treatment. La Roche Posay meanwhile benefited from the successful launch of Redermic, its first anti-ageing product, released in late 2005, while making an impressive breakthrough into markets for sun protection and facial blemish skincare products.
Innéov maintained its strong sales growth.

Western Europe returns to growth

Professional Products made significant gains in the fourth quarter to end 2005 on a high note by strengthening its positions, particularly in haircare and hair colourants, with the success of Richesse colourants and Redken sprays.
The second-half growth of the Consumer Products Division confirmed the success of its launches. New high value added products brought gains in market share, particularly in the fourth quarter, in skincare with Revitalift double lifting, in haircare with Elsève Nutri-Gloss, and in make-up.
Sales of Luxury Products were bolstered in the fourth quarter by resounding successes for newly launched products such as Platinéum skincare by Lancôme and the perfumes Hypnôse from Lancôme and Polo Black by Ralph Lauren.
The Active Cosmetics sales trends are favourable, driven in particular by the successful relaunch of Lift Activ Pro by Vichy.

Strong sales trends continue in North America

Like-for-like sales in North America grew by 6.4%.
There was strong growth in Consumer Products as Fructis by Garnier continued to expand its share of the shampoo and styling market while Nutrisse increased its hair colourant market share. Make-up sales meanwhile were bolstered by successful product initiatives such as Infaillible foundation and Volume Shocking mascara by L'Oréal Paris, and Moisture Extreme lipstick by Maybelline.

The Professional Products Division was boosted by the success of Color Smart and Biolage by Matrix, and the breakthrough of Redken in the hair colourant market. Its performance was backed up by the very rapid growth of Kerastase with extremely high quality products.

Although growth was held back by the announcement of a merger between the two leading department store operators, the Luxury Products Division scored spectacular successes with its launches: Renergie Microlift skincare products and L'Extrême mascara by Lancôme, and the men's fragrances Armani Code and Polo Black by Ralph Lauren.

Lastly, Active Cosmetics continued to progress, driven by the strong growth of Skinceuticals, the acquisition of which was concluded in June 2005.

Strong growth in the other regions of the world

The Asia Zone achieved like-for-like growth of 7.4%, bolstered by Greater China and Indonesia. South Korea was held back throughout the year by the crisis in specialised distribution.
In Consumer Products, Watershine and Unstoppable mascara galvanised Maybelline sales both in China and Japan. The success of White Perfect enabled L'Oréal Paris to increase its share of the skincare market.
Professional Products made gains in Japan through hair colourant and haircare initiatives by L'Oréal Professionnel and Kérastase. Matrix products are now being rolled out in Greater China and the Philippines.
In Luxury Products, Biotherm achieved strong growth thanks to Line Peel, particularly in Japan, and scored a real coup by creating the men's skincare market in China.
Shu Uemura is innovating with an extensive roll-out of its Tokyo Lash Bar concept. Active Cosmetics continued its rapid growth, by moving into new geographic areas and introducing strong product initiatives such as Lift Active Pro by Vichy and Méla D by La Roche Posay.

Sales in Latin America continued to make impressive progress, with like-for-like growth of 11.3%.
Professional Products made rapid advances, up by 17%, notably due to the success of the Reflexion range by Kérastase and the growth of Redken. Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina achieved the most outstanding growth scores.
Consumer Products benefited from the renewal of the Excellence hair colourant range, which has backed up the remarkable success of Nutrisse colourant in all countries in the zone. Maybelline achieved rapid growth in Mexico and Argentina.
In addition to the success of men's fragrances Armani Code and Cool by Ralph Lauren, the Luxury Products Division was buoyed by the strong growth of Biotherm, which strengthened its leading position in the men's segment of the selective retail channel.
Lastly, Active Cosmetics continued to develop through strong growth in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile, driven by successful products such as Anthélios by La Roche Posay, which now leads the market for sun protection in Brazil.

In 2005, Eastern Europe once again confirmed its very strong sales momentum , up by 28.5% like-for-like.
A number of brands contributed to this success: Matrix products have been rapidly rolled out in hair salons in Poland and the Russian Federation, while the Vichy and La Roche Posay brands are continuing to expand in pharmacies in the same countries.
The success of Consumer Products draws on the solid progress of facial skincare and bodycare products by Garnier, along with strong growth in Elsève shampoos and the Dermo-Expertise range by L'Oréal Paris. Lastly, the recent, highly promising Hydra Extrême initiative by Maybelline helped consolidate the already strong positions of the brand. At the start of 2005, our Russian subsidiary took over management of our major Luxury brands in the country. The Zone also continued to expand geographically, with the opening of subsidiaries in Serbia and Ukraine.

The growth rate in the Rest of the World was once again very high, at 11.5% like-for-like. India continued to reflect this strong sales growth trend, up by 46%, largely due to the outstanding success of Garnier Light facial skincare products, Color Natural hair colourants and Fructis shampoos by the same brand.

Results
Further increase in operating profitability at 15.6% of sales
Consolidated profit and loss account

(M€) December 31st 2004
Pro forma
As % of sales December 31st 2005 As % of sales Growth
Sales 13,641.3 100% 14,532.5 100% +6.5%
Cost of sales -4,101.1 30.1% -4,347.3 29.9% +6.0%
Gross profit 9,540.2 69.9% 10,185.2 70.1% +6.8%
Research & development expenses -466.5 3.4% -496.2 3.4% +6.4%
Advertising & promotion expenses -4,176.9 30.6% -4,367.2 30.1% +4.6%
Selling, general & administrative expenses -2,844.3 20.9% -3,009.2 20.7% +5.8%
Operating profit before foreign exchange gains and losses 2,052.5 15.0% 2,312.6 15.9% +12.7%
Foreign exchange gains ans losses 36.5 0.3% -46.6 0.3%
Operating profit 2,088.9 15.3% 2,266.0 15.6% +8.5%
Gross profit amounted to €10,185m, up by 6.8%, representing 70.1% of sales, compared with 69.9% in 2004. This improvement stems in particular from the continuation of our industrial optimisation programmes and the strengthening of our purchasing organisation.
R&D expenses increased by 6.4% to €496m, representing 3.4% of sales, exactly the same level as in 2004.
Advertising and promotion expenses amounted to €4,367m, representing 30.1% of sales. They were in fact slightly lower in 2005, partly because of better management of our promotional expenses, and partly because more favourable conditions were obtained.
Sales, general and administrative expenses amounted to €3,009m, representing 20.7% of sales; this is a clear improvement over 2004, when they accounted for 20.9% of annual sales. This improvement reflects the group's constant efforts to streamline organisation and control costs.
Operating profit before foreign exchange gains and losses amounted to €2,313m, that is 15.9% of sales, compared with 15.0% in 2004, reflecting another increase in 2005.

Fluctuations in the main currencies against the euro led to the recording of a foreign exchange loss of €46.6.m, compared with a gain of €36.5m recorded in 2004.
After foreign exchange gains and losses, operating profit amounted to €2,266m, that is 15.6% of sales, compared with 15.3% in 2004.

Operating profit by branch and division: Growth in profitability across all the Cosmetics Divisions

2004 IFRS Pro forma 2005 IFRS
By operational division
Professional Products 19.0% 19.7%
Consumer Products 16.8% 17.2%
Luxury Products 20.1% 20.2%
Active Cosmetics 18.6% 19.0%
Cosmetics Divisions total 18.0% 18.4%
Non allocated* -2.8% -2.8%
Cosmetics Branch 15.3% 15.6%
Dermatology Branch 17.3% 16.9%
Group 15.3% 15.6%
* The "Non allocated" heading groups together central expenses, fundamental research expenses, stock option expenses and miscellaneous items.
It is expressed as a % of total sales.

Net profit excluding non-recurrent items: +10.3%

Net financial expense amounted to €67.1m. The share of dividends received from Sanofi-Aventis for 2004 was €171.6m, up by +17.6%.
Pre-tax profit excluding non-recurrent items amounted to €2,370m, up by +8.4%.
Tax on profit excluding non-recurrent items amounted to €730.5m, up by +4.7%.
Net profit excluding non-recurrent items stood at €1,639m, up by +10.3%.

Net Profit after Minority Interests: +37%

Net profit after allowing for non-recurrent items amounted to €1,972m, up by 37% compared with the 2004 pro forma figure. This strong increase was mainly due to the restatement of deferred tax assets as a result of maintaining the position in Sanofi-Aventis.

Growth in cash flow and a healthy balance sheet

Cash flow amounted to €2,130m at December 31st 2005, up by 10.7%.Thanks to the strict control of the working capital requirement and stable investments, the operational cash flow is up by 22.4%.
Net group debt was €2,217m at December 31st 2005, representing 15.1% of shareholdersÂ’ equity.

Dividends

The next meeting of the Board of Directors will decide on the dividend amount to be proposed at the Annual General Meeting on April 25th 2006.

The presentation of the 2005 consolidated financial statements will be available online on the Internet site www.loreal-finance.com from 10.15 a.m. on February 16th 2006, and available for downloading from 3 p.m. on the same day.
"This news release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, L’Oréal shares. If you wish to obtain more comprehensive information about L’Oréal, please refer to the public documents registered in France with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers.
This news release may contain some forward-looking statements. Although the Company considers that these statements are based on reasonable hypotheses at the date of publication of this release, they are by their nature subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated or projected in these statements."

Contacts at L'OREAL

Individual shareholders and market authorities
Mr Jean-Régis CAROF
Tel. : +33.1.47.56.83.02
http://www.loreal-finance.com

Financial analysts and institutional investors
Mrs Caroline MILLOT
Tel. : +33.1.47.56.86.82
Fax : +33.1.47.56.80.02

Journalists
Mr Mike RUMSBY
Tel. : +33.1.47.56.76.71
http://www.loreal.com

Financial advertising published in the press

Annual accounting document (BALO n°41 du 05 avril 2006) (french)