In the first quarter of fiscal 2003, German pharmaceutical group Henkel increased sales, adjusted for foreign exchange effects by 2.8 per cent, over the prior-year period to €2.3 billion. Before adjustment, sales were 3.1 per cent below the level of the previous year.
At €168 million, operating profit (EBIT) was 3.5 per cent up on the first quarter of last year. The return on capital employed (ROCE) was 15.6 per cent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points over the same period in 2002.
Net earnings for the quarter amounted to €116 million, a 24.7 per cent rise on the previous year. Earnings per preferred share increased 22.1 per cent over the prior-year period ( from 0.68 euros to 0.83 euros.)
"The Henkel group succeeded in posting an encouraging earnings figure in the first quarter of 2003 in a still uncertain economic environment," said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Lehner, president and CEO of the German company.
After adjusting for foreign exchange effects, first-quarter sales at the Cosmetics/Toiletries business sector were 0.2 per cent down on the previous year. Before adjustment, sales fell by 3.8 per cent. Operating profit corresponded to the figure of the previous year.
Positive sales growth was achieved in the company's hair cosmetics, skin care and oral hygiene businesses. But sales in the body care segment were well down on the previous year. Sales at the professional salon business rose after adjusting for foreign exchange effects. The company said in a statement that its Cosmetics/Toiletries business sector is striving for a high single-digit percentage increase in operating profit for the full year 2003.