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Beauty Beat: SBT: Europe’s Newest Derm Brand … Nu Skin Revenues Soar

SBT: Europe’s Newest Derm Brand

HAMBURG, Germany — SBT Skin Biology Therapy is a dermatologist-developed self-help program for the skin.

The treatment range has been developed and produced by Professor Steinkraus...

SBT: Europe’s Newest Derm Brand

HAMBURG, Germany — SBT Skin Biology Therapy is a dermatologist-developed self-help program for the skin.

The treatment range has been developed and produced by Professor Steinkraus Research Laboratories, a new company in the Juvena/La Prairie Group, which is the prestige beauty arm of Beiersdorf. The 12-unit dermatological skin care range will be launched at the beginning of 2005 in selected perfumeries in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Dr. Volker Steinkraus, one of Germany’s leading dermatologists, is the former director of Hamburg University’s skin care clinic. In 1997, Steinkraus founded the Dermatologicum Hamburg. Here, in 21,500 square feet of attractive offices and treatment rooms, 12 doctors treat all manner of skin diseases. Meanwhile, the facility’s state-of-the-art labs do advanced cell culture analyses for its own patients and for skin doctors throughout Germany.

Two years later, Steinkraus opened the adjoining Skin Biology Center, a cosmetics institute for aesthetic dermatology featuring skin care items, makeup and treatments from La Prairie, Shiseido, Clinique, Alcina, Talika, as well as fragrances from Parfums de Nicolai and Histoire de Parfums. There’s also hand care by Koh, Choco-Lina sheep’s milk chocolates and Cellagon fruit and vegetable juices. The center was inspired by Dermatologicum’s patients, who after being treated with medically oriented cosmetics ranges, asked “Now what? What can you recommend?”

It was here, too, that Steinkraus and the Juvena/La Prairie Group first made contact, and where the dermatologist began to consider developing his own skin care line. It was a natural progression, he said. “If I were a dentist, I’d make a toothbrush, or a hip joint if I were an orthopedist. But as a dermatologist, I work with skin care everyday. I wanted to develop my own line, and not just give it my name,” he said.

The SBT range is in its final stages of development, and exact prices have not yet been set. Maike Kiessling, managing director of Skin Biology Therapy and a 12-year La Prairie veteran, placed the price range at 30 euros, or $36.40, to 150 euros, or $182.10, with the creams falling at around 100 euros, or $121.40.

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She declined to set an initial sales target, but industry observers estimated the range could bring in 3 million euros, or $3.64 million, in first-year sales. “At the moment, we’re in the development stage and what’s needed is to create this brand,” Kiessling said. “And to build a skin care line doesn’t need two to three years, but eight to 10. You have to build it step by step.”

After the initial rollout to about 80 perfumery doors in Germany, 20 in Austria and 20 in Switzerland in early 2005, there will be a further rollout to another five to 10 countries in 2006.

Steinkraus’ objective was to create “evidence-based cosmetics” — that is, products that contain only ingredients known to have a positive effect on the skin. For example, that meant no silicon, as “it has no biological meaning. There’s nothing wrong with silicon, but also nothing right,” he commented.

It also meant dispensing with the common base of most skin care products — water — in favor of SBT’s so-called “cell culture phase,” a cocktail of vitamins, mineral salts and trace elements said to be very similar to a skin cell’s natural housing. Skin cells can’t proliferate or enter biochemical pathways in water, and can only survive a short time in that element, Steinkraus explained. The skin cells are said to not only find all they need to develop in SBT’s “cell culture phase,” but “the skin is so intelligent, it takes only what it needs,” he said.

SBT offers a less-is-more assortment of five cell culture cleansing products, six cell culture care products and one cell culture protection product in various consistencies and textures. There is a gel, milk, and cream facial cleanser, plus a cleansing toner and eye cleansing lotion. The face care range is comprised of a serum, light, medium or rich face cream, and an eye gel or cream.

Kiessling believes the “high class, aesthetic products with a dermatological approach” will get a new skin care customer into perfumeries. Many perfumery customers buy their skin care in pharmacies, at the doctor or at health food stores, she pointed out. Kiessling and Steinkraus said there will be additions to the range — “definitely [there will] be something for the lips, fingers and nail areas, and of course, there must be a program for the body sooner or later,” said Steinkraus.

Nu Skin Revenues Soar

NEW YORK — Nu Skin Enterprises posted its largest quarterly revenue in company history thanks to strong growth in the U.S. and China.

The Provo, Utah-based company saw revenues in the second quarter jump 18 percent to $284.2 million from $240.7 million a year ago. Net income rose 21 percent to $20.3 million from $16.8 million, while earnings per diluted share swelled 33 percent to 28 cents from 21 cents.

“These results are ahead of our forecast for the quarter and are primarily due to growth in China and the U.S.,” said president and chief executive officer Truman Hunt during a conference call to investors.

Earnings for the period were affected by a one-time, noncash amortization adjustment, which negatively impacted earnings per share by 1 cent, and a foreign currency translation that ate $1.5 million off the bottom line.

Growth in China drove the quarter’s results, with revenue in Greater China increasing 97 percent to $59.2 million. Nu Skin operates in 23 cities and eight provinces in China.

North American revenue, meanwhile, was $36 million, up 9 percent from the same period in 2003.

“In the U.S., we’re on course to grow our business by 25 percent by the end of the year,” Hunt said. “We’re confident that 2004 and 2005 are going to be record years for Nu Skin Enterprises.”

Separately, the company is repurchasing $3.1 million shares of common stock from original stockholders. “We believe this is an excellent use of our cash,” said chief financial officer Ritch Wood.
— Carrie Melago