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UPDATE 1-Symrise expects 2020 sales below long-term target

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Oct 29 (Reuters) - German flavour and fragrance maker Symrise expects 3-4% organic sales growth this year, it said on Thursday after reporting revenue slightly below expectations for the first nine months.

The forecast for the year is below its long-term target of annual organic growth of 5-7%. The company said it aims to increase annual sales to between 5.5 billion and 6 billion euros ($7.09 billion) by the end of 2025.

“Product solutions for food as well as personal care and hygiene remained in high demand, while demand for luxury items such as fine fragrances was less,” Chief Executive Heinz-Juergen Bertram said in a statement.

The maker of ingredients such as artificial mint flavouring said the COVID-19 pandemic continued to boost demand for baked goods and cereals as people cooked and baked at home, but it dented sales of beverages and sweets associated with dining out.

Sales of sunscreen ingredients and fine fragrances used in the perfumes of French luxury giants LVMH and Kering continued to face lower demand owing to travel bans and lockdowns.

Revenue rose 5.9% year on year to 2.7 billion euros in the January to September period, against analyst expectations of 2.72 billion euros.

Symrise confirmed its 2020 target of a core profit margin of 21-22%. ($1 = 0.8461 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk Editing by Himani Sarkar and David Goodman )