However, French luxury goods manufacturer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has reaffirmed that it is not interested in buying the group. In a presentation given in Paris yesterday by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault for the company's annual results, it was stated that there were no specific acquisition targets on the agenda at the current moment. Arnault did however say that with the current economic climate, there is likely to be a number of casualties in the luxury retail segment, which could 'create opportunities for the future'. But despite difficulties in the US market last year, solid fourth quarter results meant that the company was able to surpass €1bn in yearly sales revenues for the first time. Clarins boosted by strong international sales Strong performances in international markets outside of the US meant that the full year sales were buoyed, with sales in Asia growing 12.5 per cent during the quarter, and sales in other countries growing over 35 per cent on the back of strong gains in Latin America and the Middle East. The results are likely to put Clarins in a stronger position to maintain independence, which the company has clearly stated is its objective. Back in November it released an official statement refuting persistent rumours over potential take-over bids, after mixed fortunes on the Paris stock exchange. Following the shakey stock market performance Clarins was linked to potential bidders that included French retail giant PPR, as well as leading cosmetics players L'Oreal, Beiersdorf and Procter & Gamble. Speculation began with death of founder Speculation began in earnest in March last year after the death of company founder Jacques-Courtin Clarins, leaving his son Christian to head up the business. During the height of the speculation in November last year, Christian Courtin-Clarins said in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, "All the competition is interested in Clarins, they have made offers, but freedom does not have a price. We will remain our own governors". However, as many industry experts have pointed out, Clarins fortunes and ambitions to remain independent are likely to be pinned tightly to the general health of the global economy in 2008.