Top Companies Report

7. Beiersdorf

August 11, 2011


Sales: $7.0 billion

Key Personnel:

Thomas-B. Quaas, chairman, executive board; Peter Feld, executive board member, Europe/North America; Ralph Gusko, executive board member, brands and supply chain; Dr. Ulrich Schmidt, executive board member, finance/human resources; Ümit Subasi, executive board member, emerging markets; James C. Wei, executive board member, Asia.

Major Products:

Nivea, La Prairie, Eucerin, 8 x 4, Labello, Florena and SLEK skin care.

New Products:

La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Systéme and Platinum Rare Serum.


Consumer product sales rose 1.6% last year. Sales of Nivea rose 1.8%, sales of Eucerin increased 9% and La Prairie sales jumped 7.5%.The best performing products under the Nivea umbrella were Nivea deodorant, Nivea for Men, Nivea Sun, Nivea Deodorant Calm & Care, Nivea for Men Silver Protect and Nivea Sun Protect & Bronze. In contrast, sales fell for Nivea Hair Care and Nivea Hair Styling.

Consumers in the US, Thailand and Chile were particularly enamored with Eucerin, according to Beiersdorf, while in the exclusive cosmetics segment, La Prairie rebounded in part to the successful launches of La Prairie Platinum Rare Serum and La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Systéme.

By region, Europe accounted for 61.1% of consumer sales, Africa, Asia and Australia represented 21.6% of sales and the Americas represented 17.3% of sales. As for Europe, Beiersdorf reported a significant sales increase in the UK and Russia, but results in the rest of Europe were mixed, as sales declined sharply in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Overall, sales rose 1.4% in Western Europe and declined 2.2% in Eastern Europe. Sales in Germany declined. Beiersdorf said sales in North America and Latin America rose significantly, while Africa/Asia/Australia posed slight gains. Sales jumped 14.9% in the Americas. During the year, the company disposed of the Juvena and Marlies Moller skin care brands.

To get things moving again, Beiersdorf is making a big bet on Nivea, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Chairman Thomas-B. Quaas told shareholders that Nivea will get a multimillion-dollar investment in an effort to strengthen the brand for the long-term.

For the first quarter of 2011, consumer product sales declined 1.6%, which the company blamed on the streamlining of European product ranges, which resulted in a 5.8% decline in German sales and a 6.5% drop in Western Europe. Sales were flat in Eastern Europe. The good news was that sales in the Americas jumped 8.7%, led by a 12.9% gain in Latin America and 3.4% increase in North America. Sales in the Africa/Asia/Australia region rose less than 1%.

In April, the company announced plans to discontinue operations in Baden-Baden, citing declining capacity utilization.

In June, Ralph Gusko joined the executive board with brand and supply chain responsibilities. He had been general manager, Northern Europe.

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