Byline: Melissa Drier

BERLIN — The new century started with a bang for the Beiersdorf Group as both the company and its Cosmed division posted double-digit increases in sales.
The Hamburg-based company reported that sales for the Cosmed division rose 15.5 percent to $2.39 billion last year as the company’s sales growth overall reached 11 percent. Bodycare products from Beiersdorf’s Eucerin brand contributed an additional $148.7 million in sales. All dollar figures are calculated from the euro at current exchange rates.
“This was the best year we ever had,” declared Uwe Wolfer, Beiersdorf’s executive board member responsible for the Cosmed division. Earnings before interest and taxes were up 12.6 percent, compared to an 12.1 percent increase in 1999.
U.S. sales grew 26 percent to $149.6 million. On a constant dollar basis, American sales were up 10.4 percent. Wolfer attributed U.S. growth to the success of new products within the Nivea Visage Q10 series and skin-firming body lotion. The Nivea brand continues to contribute about 80 percent of Beiersdorf Cosmed sales, and grew 16 percent to $1.9 billion.
Beiersdorf’s prestige division, the Juvena/La Prairie Group, generated net sales of $155 million, up from $127 million.
International sales were up 21.7 percent in 2000, and now account for 71 percent of total sales compared to 68 percent in 1999.
In 2001, Wolfer projects further sales growth of more than 10 percent, and earnings before interest and taxes of “not under [this year’s rate of] 12.6 percent. There is no reason to be pessimistic about the future,” he said. Major 2001 launches will include Nivea for Men in the U.S., as well the introduction of Nivea hair care in Italy and Nivea Baby in Brazil.
He declined comment when asked about Beiersdorf’s reported interest in acquiring Clairol.