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Estée Lauder to expand skin-care plant

The Melville operations of the skin care and cosmetics giant Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. will grow to become more of a key global facility for the company's skin care operations, chief executive Fabrizio Freda said Friday morning.

The Melville facility will have "our technology, our best production capabilities and . . . produce skin care [products] of super high quality," Freda said at a media breakfast in the company's Manhattan headquarters.

He added that the Melville office will be crucial to the company's growth strategy.

Estée Lauder had previously announced it would be closing its facilities in Oakland, N.J., and consolidating jobs and fragrance-filling operations at its Melville location. The goal is to increase efficiency and cut costs. Moving its distribution business from Melville to Pennsylvania will also be part of the plan.

Estée Lauder has not specified how many jobs the Melville office will draw with its new functions. The company is still in the process of moving and consolidating its various operations and updating its Melville facility.

Freda also outlined the progress of the company's efforts to grow in recent years. Since 2009 it has emphasized introducing new products from research and increasing the amount of spending on advertising.

Shares of Estée Lauder, which closed at $70.85 Friday in New York Stock Exchange trading, have a stock market value of $16.86 billion and have risen more than 370 percent since Jan. 1, 2009. In comparison, the Standard & Poor's 500 index of blue-chip stocks has risen 90 percent in the same period.

Although Freda was excited about business prospects in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, he said he sees the United States as the biggest emerging market for Estée Lauder because of the diversity of the population and rapid changes in its demographics.

In the future, Estée Lauder will also focus on growing its fragrance business. Freda said there is opportunity in the fragrance market and the company's current efforts need improvement.

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