Beiersdorf puts German soap factory up for sale

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Company, Personal care, Beiersdorf

As part of on-going restructuring to its supply chain and general
operations Beiersdorf is putting its Hirtler soap manufacturing
facility up for sale.

Situated in Heitersheim, southern Germany, the facility is a wholly-owned affiliate, with modern production facilities specialising in the production of high quality soaps for the parent company, as well as producing small amounts of soap for third parties.

The company said that the 93 employers at the factory had been informed of its plans, but added that, because of the likelihood of another personal care business buying up the business, the future of the workforce is likely to be secure.

Indeed the company has even hinted that a new owner might increase production volumes, given the opportunities to expand production at the facility and the likelihood that a company with larger manufacturing requirements could move in.

"We are convinced that we need to give Hirtler greater freedom and that this will result in substantial growth opportunities",​ explained Thomas Quaas, of Beiersdorf chairman.

As the facility is already geared up towards contract soap manufacturing, this adds further flexibility, making it a good prospect for a business to expand this area of the business.

Likewise the company said that the company intends to maintain production of soap at the factory until a sale is made, ensuring that there will be no financial difficulties for the operations before a new owner is found.

Beiersdorf executive Markus Pinger said that a number of potential investors had been identified and that currently the company was undertaking a screening process to determine the best prospects.

The planned sale of the Hirtler facility is part of Beiersdorf's new Consumer Business Strategy, which has already seen the sale or closure of a number of its manufacturing facilities in Europe.

In March this year, the company announced that it was considering the possible closure of manufacturing facilities in Swede, Belgium and the Netherlands, with the potential loss of 400 jobs.

Although the company has not made it clear whether further positions are likely to be axed amongst the company's 16,000 global workforce, Beiersdorf said that it would continue to search out new ways of upping efficiencies and cost savings as part of plans that will eventually save the company €100m a year.

The company says that these savings will then be channeled into investing in the company's core brands, particularly in developing markets. Its ultimate aim is to acheive a 5.5 per cent slice of the global market for personal care products by the year 2010, with growth particularly focusing on the markets of China, India, Brazil and Russia.

Related topics: Business & Financial

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