What: Shares of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE:IFF) fell as much as 14% in trading Thursday after reporting disappointing earnings.

So what: Sales fell 5% in the fourth quarter to $715.6 million and net income dropped 21% to $71.6 million, or $0.89 per share. After adjusting for one-time items, earnings were $1.05 per share, but that still fell $0.10 short of what Wall Street expected.  

Now what: Organically, sales weren't as bad as they looked on a GAAP basis because a strong dollar made international sales look weak. Without that currency weakness sales would have grown 5%, helped by 2% from acquisitions.

Despite the currency adjustments, I don't see a lot of positives for International Flavors & Fragrances in the quarter. Declining earnings make it hard to justify paying 20 times earnings for the company and that's what will keep me out of shares today.

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