BERLIN — Beiersdorf anticipates a year of flat sales, although 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the company’s Nivea brand. And operating profit will not reach last year’s 11.3 percent, even if improvements are ahead for 2012, shareholders were told at the firm’s annual general meeting in Hamburg.

In a speech, Thomas-B. Quaas, chairman of the firm’s executive board, called 2011 another transitional year for its consumer business segment, which also holds Eucerin and La Prairie brands in addition to Nivea. As reported, Beiersdorf’s consumer segment posted 2010 sales of 5.32 billion euros, or $7.07 billion, up 1.6 percent when adjusted for currency impact.

Quaas said the company plans to continue simplifying and streamlining its product portfolio in all areas, and investing in its strongest brands. Beiersdorf previously decided to exit the makeup category in Germany and France, and sold off its Marlies Möller hair brand last year, but noted that hair care overall will remain part of its business.

In an effort to connect better with consumers, the company is currently running a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for Nivea, and hopes to hold 1.7 million in-store consulting sessions with shoppers this year.

Beiersdorf also said it will expand its distribution network in China to access the country’s fast-growing middle class.

The company is slated to release its first-quarter interim financial figures on May 5.

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