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(INTS KALNINS/REUTERS)

Financial Times

L’Oréal no beauty queen in the personal care pageant

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

Wearing a lot of makeup is a bold statement. It is odd then that the world’s largest maker of cosmetics by sales is about as conservative as they come. L’Oréal has €1.6-billion ($2.1-billion) in net cash on its balance sheet. Yet it can think of nothing better to do than give €500-million of it back to ordinary shareholders. A buyback program was unveiled in L’Oréal’s annual results on Monday. Investors were pleased – shares in the French company picked up 4 per cent on Tuesday.