UPDATE 1-Brazil's Natura says margins to stay under pressure after Q2 net loss

·2 min read

(Adds details, CEO quotes)

By Gabriel Araujo

SAO PAULO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian cosmetic maker Natura &Co Holding SA on Thursday reported a much wider-than-expected quarterly net loss, pressured by a challenging macroeconomic scenario that is poised to keep hurting the company in the short term.

The 766.7 million reais ($148.62 million) loss contrasted with a 235 million-real net profit posted a year earlier. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a loss of 216.6 million reais.

This was Natura's first quarterly report since announcing a broad organizational shakeup in June, when chief executive and executive chairman Roberto Marques stepped down, handing over the reins of the company to board member Fabio Barbosa.

In a statement, Barbosa said the company expects its businesses to "trend better" in the second half, but that macroeconomic challenges were set to keep pressuring the firm's margins in the short term.

"Our clear and immediate priority is to focus on margins and operating cash flow," he said.

The owner of Natura, Avon, Aesop and The Body Shop brands had already faced a difficult first quarter, with surging costs and tepid sales leading it to push back by a year some financial targets.

In the three months through June, Natura said net revenues fell by 8.6%, as Avon International and The Body Shop posted 25% drops each in the wake of the Ukrainian war and a slow retail recovery.

Barbosa said high inflation was affecting consumer spending and that supply chain disruptions were squeezing its results.

Natura's net financial expenses more than doubled in the quarter on higher interest rates, foreign exchange swings and elevated inflation in Turkey and Argentina. Cash generation measured by adjusted EBITDA fell 14.3%.

Brazil-traded shares in Natura, a company marked by high-profile acquisitions in recent years, are down roughly 37% so far this year, at their lowest level since late 2018.

($1 = 5.1587 reais) (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Christian Plumb and Grant McCool)