BERLIN — Thomas-B. Quaas, in his last appearance as chief executive officer of Beiersdorf AG at the company’s annual general meeting today, called 2011 a transitional year and predicted that 2012 would be a “year of solid growth and increased profitability” for the maker of Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie. 


Following the meeting in Hamburg, Germany, Quaas turned over to reins to Stefan F. Heidenreich. Quaas is expected to move to Beiersdorf’s supervisory board. 


As reported, the company registered 2011 after-tax profits of 259 million euros, or $361.1 million, down 20.6 percent on-year. Sales at the company last year rose 1.1 percent to 5.63 billion euros, or $7.85 billion. Meanwhile, its organic revenues gained 2.1 percent.


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Beiersdorf’s consumer segment — its largest — posted sales of 4.7 billion euros, or $6.55 billion, down 0.04 percent. Adjusted for currency translation effects, revenues were up 0.6 percent, and organic sales grew 1.1 percent.


Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange for 2011.


It was an anniversary year for Nivea in 2011, and so a number of costly marketing efforts were introduced, including in-store skin consultations and online campaigns. Quaas said the investment paid off in brand image and awareness, pointing out that Beiersdorf’s Nivea and Labello brands together held 171 global number-one category rankings in 2011, a rise from 2010’s 166.


Pharmacy-centric skin care brand Eucerin also performed well, achieving average growth of 12 percent annually between 1995 and 2011. Luxury brand La Prairie registered a 3.4 percent rise in sales last year and almost double-digit growth, according to the company. Quaas also noted that the 2011 introduction of Nivea Invisible for Black & White deodorant for men and women was a massive hit. The product, launched early last year, represents the most successful launch in the company’s 130-year history, he said.  


“Black & White is a prime example of a perfect innovation that matched exactly with customers’ wishes,” Quaas said, explaining its achievement exemplifies Beiersdorf’s new strategy of offering fewer, stronger products to the market.

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