By  on November 5, 2008

BERLIN — Beiersdorf AG managed to generate third-quarter profits and sales growth and maintain its optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year despite the difficult economy.

The firm said its core beauty brands Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie maintained their double-digit growth rates for the Hamburg-based group in both the third quarter ended Sept. 30 and the first nine months of 2008.

Thomas Quaas, chairman of the firm’s executive board, commented, “We remain optimistic that we will meet our targets for 2008.”

While the firm did not break out divisional figures for the quarter, based on its six- and nine-month interim reports, consumer division sales for the third quarter rose 12.5 percent to 1.24 billion euros, or $1.87 billion at average exchange. Earnings before interest and taxes for the division, which includes body and facial care under Nivea, Labello, Florena, Juvena, La Prairie, Eucerin and other brands, as well as Curad and Curitas plasters, rose 1.6 percent to 489 million euros, or $736.8 million.

In the first nine months of this year, consumer division sales rose 10.2 percent, or 13 percent when adjusted for currency effects, to 3.89 billion euros, or $5.93 billion. EBIT jumped 23.3 percent to 489 million euros, or $744.5 million, compared with 397 million euros, or $604.4 million in the prior-year period. Beiersdorf noted that the realignment of its consumer supply chain added 13 million euros, or $19.8 million, to EBIT.

Overall third-quarter sales for the group, which includes the Tesa adhesives business, rose 10.6 percent to 1.46 billion euros, or $2.19 billion. Group EBIT was up slightly to 154 million euros, or $232 million, from 152 million euros, or $229 million, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding special factors, such as the consumer supply chain realignment, EBIT slipped about 1 percent to 156 million euros, or $235 million, from 158 million euros, or $238.1 million.

By region, consumer sales in the nine-month period rose 2 percent domestically and 7.2 percent in Europe as a whole. Eastern Europe, however, generated growth of 19.7 percent. The Americas gained 12.5 percent, with North American sales up 2.9 percent and Latin America up 21.1 percent. Sales in Africa, Asia and Australia surged 32.7 percent.

Sales in China grew 43.7 percent, South Africa 44.4 percent, the Middle East 30.1 percent and Thailand 21 percent. In Japan, however, sales were down slightly from last year. All growth rates are adjusted for currency translation effects.

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