Sales for fiscal 2009 fell by 0.7 per cent in organic terms and by 3.7 per cent in nominal terms to €5.75bn, compared to €5.97bn in 2009.
However, the company was quick to point out that the comparison with the previous year was difficult, particularly in view of the fact that 2009 had seen a significant decline in global retail markets and sales growth had been robust in 2008.
Likewise, sales growth for the personal segment of the business remained positive in organic terms, growing 1.2 percent to €5.01bn. However, in nominal terms this figure represented a decline of 2.2 per cent compared with the €5.12bn sales in 2008.
Personal care brands show varied performance
Beiersdorf said that sales of its three leading personal care brands – Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie - differed substantially in 2009, with Nivea achieving organic sales growth of 1.3 per cent worldwide and Eucerin recording growth of 6.5 per cent.
However, La Prairie, which, being positioned in the prestige category, was hard hit by a significant downturn in consumer spend in this category. Consequently worldwide sales for the brand fell by 8.7 per cent during the year.
On a regional basis, stagnant and falling consumer sales in Western Europe during the year were compensated for by growth of 13.3 per cent in Latin America and 12.7 per cent in the China market.
Tesa business weighed group performance down
The company’s Tesa business affected the overall results significantly, due to the fact that demand for adhesives was significantly reduced in the heavy manufacturing industries it supplies.
Sales for the division were down 12.2 per cent in organic terms and 12.8 per cent in nominal value, to €737m, compared to a figure of €846m in 2008.
“The economic crisis has changed the environment for the cosmetics industry worldwide, and we will need to be even more flexible and focus even more strongly on our core competencies in the future,” said Thomas Quaas, Beiersdorf CEO.
Profits and EBIT margins slip
Profits after tax were €380m, compared to €558m, a drop of 33 per cent, while the EBIT margin was 10.2 per cent, compared to a figure of 11.7 per cent in 2008.
“This year, Beiersdorf will grow faster than the market in both business segments. We aim to improve margins at Consumer and Tesa, and thus in the group; compared with 2009 the EBT margin at Consumer will exceed 11 per cent.”
The company says that further market growth in 2010 should be ensured by a raft of new product launches, including its new Nivea Calm & Sensitive deodorant range, together with the new Eurerin Aquaporin Active face care product.