A continuing focus on skin care brand Nivea, as well as giving unprofitable lines the chop, has given German consumer goods company Beiersdorf a positive outlook in 2012, following the announcement of its 2011 results.
Beiersdorf’s Group sales rose by a nominal 1.1 per cent to €5,633 million, whilst the operating result (EBIT) excluding special factors amounted to €646m down from €699m the previous year.
In the Consumer business segment, the companies three global skin care brands; Nivea, and La Prairie all performed positively in 2011.
Portfolio realigned and streamlined
“We are making good progress on the realignment of our corporate structures and processes as part of our drive to increase the regionalization of our Consumer business. We are optimistic that we will grow in line with the market again in 2012,” said outgoing CEO Thomas Quaas.
The Consumer business was realigned and strengthened in 2011 by comprehensive streamlining of the product portfolio and global marketing measures.
In particular, the wide range of activities surrounding Nivea’s 100th anniversary were a key source of momentum, and around 1.6 million consulting sessions were held at over 75,000 promotional stands in retail stores in 52 countries as part of the company’s skin advisory tour.
The skin care brand also recorded around one billion internet hits, including more than 200 million on social networks.
The Hamburg-based group has been losing market share to rivals in recent years, which prompted the slashing of 20 per cent of its product range in Europe to focus on Nivea, which it states should regain market share and start growing faster than rivals after 2012.
Performance in the global consumer markets was very mixed, as business in the UK and Russia was positive, while sales in other European countries did not match prior-year levels due to the streamlining of the product portfolio, amongst other things.
In Germany, the Consumer business segment recorded a positive trend in its Nivea core segment. However, its exit from the Nivea Make-up business also had a clear impact.
The business segment performed particularly well in Latin America with growth rates in the double digits, whereas in the Africa/Asia/Australia region, sales were only slightly up on the previous year, due to the impact of the reorganization of business structures in China.
It’s all change in the coming months at Beiersdorf too, as Stefan Heidenreich, who joined the executive board in January, will replace out-going CEO Thomas Quaas after the company's AGM, in the April.
Heidenreich is no stranger to the personal care field, having also held executive positions at both Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser.
The appointment aims to breathe new life into Beiersdorf, which was particularly hard hit by the economic downturn, but will now be looking for a more positive 2012.