Consumer Division Sales Increase at Beiersdorf

BERLIN — Sales volume of Beiersdorf’s cash cow, Nivea, increased 4.4 percent on a currency-adjusted basis to 2.73 billion euros, or $3.57 billion at average exchange, in 2004, the Hamburg-based group said at its annual consumer division press conference on Tuesday.

Overall, Beiersdorf’s branded consumer division grew sales 2.7 percent to 3.84 billion euros, or $5.02 billion. At constant exchange rates, divisional sales rose 4.3 percent. The consumer division generates about 84 percent of group turnover and includes skin care brands Nivea, Eucerin, La Prairie, Juvena, Marlies Möller, Labello, Florena and others. It also includes bandages under the Hansaplast, Curad, Curitas and Elastoplast names.

Appearing for the last time as Beiersdorf’s board member in charge of the consumer division, Uwe Wölfer, who will retire March 31, underscored the continued success of Beiersdorf’s umbrella brand strategy, especially with regard to Nivea. The brand now holds 183 market-leader positions out of a total of 650 possible number one slots, up from 173 in 2003.

“No other brand holds so many number one positions in the world,” he declared.

Beiersdorf is taking a similar umbrella approach to its pharmacy-distributed skin care brand, Eucerin, which grew sales 7 percent in 2004. Eucerin achieved double-digit growth in 19 countries in 2004, and is the number one apothecary skin care and skin cleansing brand in Europe, he said. In the prestige segment, the Juvena/La Prairie Group increased currency-adjusted sales to 186 million euros, or $243 million.

Geographically, Asia saw the strongest sales growth, with sales in China increasing by 30 percent and sales in Thailand rising 12 percent. After years of stagnation, the launch of Eucerin body lotion helped sales in Japan grow by 7 percent. Sales in Australia also increased 23 percent.

European sales, excluding Germany, rose 2.1 percent to 1.85 billion euros, or $2.42 billion, and contributed about 50 percent of the division’s total sales. Great Britain increased sales 14 percent, Switzerland was up 8 percent, Spain rose 7 percent, Portugal increased 6 percent and Sweden grew 5 percent.

The domestic market remained under the cloud of Germany’s economic doldrums and continued consumer reluctance. “5.2 million unemployed does not provide the scenario one needs to build business,” Wölfer commented. Overall, the Beiersdorf brands inched up German sales 1 percent to 898 million euros, or $1.17 billion. — Melissa DrierGivaudan Sales Gain in 2004

PARIS — Swiss flavors and fragrances company Givaudan registered 2004 sales of 2.68 billion Swiss francs, or $2.26 million at average exchange, a 0.4 percent rise year-on-year. In local currencies, sales increased 4 percent in the period.

Givaudan’s fragrance division posted sales of 1.07 billion Swiss francs, or $903.3 million, up 1.4 percent over 2003. In local currencies, the gain was 4.8 percent. In a statement, Givaudan attributed the growth to its fine fragrance and consumer products businesses.

Yet, the firm said: “Sales in fragrance ingredients continued to be impacted by the phasing-out of commodity ingredients, consistent with Givaudan’s strategy to focus on the production of high value-added fragrance molecules.” The company said its program to improve operating margins has been successful “and will deliver additional savings in 2005.”

Last year, Givaudan’s gross margin rose to 47.8 percent versus 46.1 percent in 2003. Operating profits minus goodwill amortization advanced from 415 million Swiss francs, or $349.4 million, to 484 million Swiss francs, or $407.5 million, resulting in an operating margin of 18.1 percent last year against 15.3 percent in 2003. On a comparable basis, the company’s net profits had a 20 percent uptick to 350 million Swiss francs, or $294.6 million. — Jennifer Weil

Inter Parfums Forms Two Divisions

PARIS — Inter Parfums SA has announced a plan for reorganization. Effective March 15, the Paris-based subsidiary of Inter Parfums Inc. will be divided into a Burberry Fragrances division, overseen by Marcella Cacci, and a “luxe and fashion” division — to include the Lanvin, Paul Smith, S.T. Dupont, Christian Lacroix and Celine brands.

This will be headed up by Frederic Garcia-Peylo, formerly associate managing director. Both Cacci and Garcia-Peylo will report to Philippe Benacin, president and chief executive officer of Inter Parfums SA. “Taking into account its size and its growth perspectives, Inter Parfums decided to strengthen its organization,” said the company in a statement.

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