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Essanelle Weighs Austria and Switzerland Acquisitions, CEO Says

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Essanelle Hair Group AG, Europe’s only publicly traded hairdresser, is considering expanding outside its German home market to boost sales, Chief Executive Officer Achim Mansen said.

“If there’s a hairdresser chain in Austria or Switzerland of at least 20 or 30 stores for sale we’d consider a bid,” Mansen said in an interview yesterday in Frankfurt. Essanelle isn’t in “concrete talks” at the moment, he said.

Essanelle, which plans to add about 49 salons this year to reach a total of 700, has so far failed to expand its business abroad, pulling out of Poland in 2002 after making losses in the country. The hairdresser can only boost profit and sales by adding stores, Mansen said.

The company plans to focus its expansion efforts on its discount brands, Super Cut and Hair Express, which offer cuts for as little as 10 euros ($13.60), the CEO said. Dusseldorf-based Essanelle runs salons under five brand names, mostly in department stores, malls and city centers.

The company expects full-year earnings before taxes to be at the “upper end” of its forecast range of 4.5 million euros to 5 million euros, Mansen said, citing “very good” business in November. Essanelle posted pretax profit of 5.5 million euros last year. Sales and profit will probably rise in 2011, the CEO said.

Essanelle controls about 2.5 percent of the German hair-salon market, the CEO said. Combined with its parent company, closely held Saxonia Holding GmbH, it has a market share of about 5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Holger Elfes in Dusseldorf at helfes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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