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ZURICH, April 12 (Reuters) - Deals in developing markets helped Givaudan boost sales at the start of 2016, the Swiss fragrance and flavours maker said on Tuesday, an early indication its strategy to seek out new business is paying off.
Givaudan counts the world's biggest consumer goods companies among its top customers but sales last year were hampered as key clients suffered from sluggish global demand and a major customer ended a long-standing contract.
First-quarter figures suggested early signs of success for Givaudan's strategy of finding new customers to offset its reliance on a small number of industry giants.
Sales in the first three months of 2016 were up 5.6 percent at 1.15 billion Swiss francs ($1.21 billion), matching the forecast in a Reuters poll of eight analysts.
Givaudan's shares were seen opening up 1.1 percent against an overall market seen falling 0.3 percent, according to pre-market indicators by bank Julius Baer.
Givaudan said it made gains in its designated "high growth" markets of Argentina, Brazil, India and Indonesia, where new wins added momentum to existing business expansion.
In the consumer products segment of its flavours division, which makes scents for laundry detergent, cleaning products, Prada and Dior perfumes and the mint flavour in toothpastes, Givaudan saw a double-digit percentage rise in sales.
Total gains were posted on the back of soft comparables in early 2015.
The Geneva-based company confirmed its mid-term goal of 4-5 percent annual sales growth through 2020.
$1 = 0.9539 Swiss francs Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Joshua Franklin; Editing by Mark Potter