Struggles In Russia Affect Avon – Which Account for Up to 6% Of Sales

Sheri McCoy,Avon,CEO


Russia's currency crisis is not just Vladimir Putin's problem, it's also the Avon Lady's.

BMO downgraded Avon Products on Tuesday to underperform from market perform on concerns the falling ruble will destabilize the region, seriously hurting door-to-door sales in Eastern Europe.

Russia alone accounts for 5 to 6 percent of Avon's sales, BMO estimates. Central and Eastern Europe hold 12 to 14 percent of Avon's sales, according to the company.

Avon needs to raise prices significantly to offset currency weakness at a time when consumers, in the midst of a credit crunch, have less money to spend, analyst Connie Maneaty wrote in the report.

BMO lowered its target price to $7 from $10 on the assumption that Avon will trade at 12 times its 2015 earnings estimate. Avon shares opened slightly lower Tuesday at $9.31.

Direct selling can be an income-generating opportunity in difficult economic conditions, and as it has done in the past, Avon may step up recruiting, Maneaty wrote. But there are risks.

It's been a rough month for Avon investors. Last Thursday, it agreed to pay $135 million to settle criminal and civil charges relating to a bribery scandal in China.

Originally reported by: CNBC

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