Why Avon Products (AVP) Is Dropping on Thursday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Avon Products (AVP) is dropping on Thursday after the cosmetics company reported a double-digit drop in volume over its fourth quarter.

By midafternoon, shares had taken off 2.9% to $14.63. Trading volume of 10.3 million was more than double its three-month average of 4.3 million.

In the three months to December, Avon Products reported revenue of $2.7 billion, 10% lower than a year earlier and around $80 million less than analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast. Total units decreased 10%, with an 11% and 8% decline in beauty and fashion & home sales, respectively.

By region, Latin American sales were down 7% from the year-ago quarter, weighed down by a 15% drop in Mexico but partially offset by a 6% increase (stripping out forex impacts) in Brazil. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, revenue was down 4%, with a 3% and 5% drop in Russia and the U.K., respectively.

In North America, sales declined 21%, lagged by a 25% decrease in beauty sales. Sales in the Asia Pacific were 22% lower, with revenue in China half that of the year-ago quarter.

"Although the second half of the year was impacted by both execution and macro-economic factors, I'm pleased that we are making headway toward our financial goals and Avon's return to profitable growth," said CEO Sheri McCoy in a statement.

Also depressing investor sentiment, the New York-based company is in advanced negotiations to settle a bribery probe levied against it by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice. In a conference call to analysts on Thursday, McCoy said a settlement would likely cost between $89 million and $132 million.

"Our discussions with the government are ongoing and differences remain, but the team is working hard in an effort to bring these matters to a close," she said.

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