Beiersdorf Names CFO From Colgate as Earnings Beat Estimates

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Beiersdorf AG named a Colgate-Palmolive Co. executive as successor to its retiring chief financial officer, tapping one of the Nivea maker’s main competitors for the role.

Jesper Andersen, 45, will start to take over from 62-year-old Ulrich Schmidt in September, Beiersdorf said Thursday as it reported first-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates.

“Young guy, external, Colgate -- that will be taken well,” said Robert Waldschmidt, an analyst at Liberum Capital in London. “He ticks three really good boxes. It’s also new blood, which is good. I can’t say Ulrich has been the most energizing force within the company.”

Beiersdorf is gaining a CFO with about two decades experience working in Europe, Asia and North America for Colgate. The stock’s gain of as much as 5 percent was fueled by optimism for the appointment plus the company’s success in raising prices in Europe, Waldschmidt said.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes increased 8.5 percent to 255 million euros ($290 million), beating the 248.8 million-euro consensus. Beiersdorf has been investing in emerging markets such as Latin America, and expanding the Nivea line and Labello lip balms as it aims for 3 percent to 5 percent growth in a modestly expanding global personal-care market.

Chinese Challenge

“Our business in Brazil, Russia and India is highly dynamic, while China remains a challenge as expected,” Chief Executive Officer Stefan Heidenreich said on a conference call with journalists. “We will significantly gain momentum in the coming months and confirm our forecast for 2015.”

The shares traded 1.9 percent higher at 78.23 euros as of noon in Frankfurt.

Sales rose 6.9 percent to 1.71 billion euros, though organic sales growth of 0.7 percent, unaided by currency effects, missed estimates for a 3.7 percent gain.

A weaker euro is helping European cosmetics and skin-care companies as it boosts the value of sales abroad when converted into euros. L’Oreal SA of Paris last month reported a 14 percent increase in first-quarter sales, and Unilever, whose Dove brand competes with Nivea, reported a currency-aided 12.3 percent rise in revenue.

Beiersdorf’s sales rose by 9.4 percent in Latin America where it’s a strong seller of sunscreen and deodorant, though sales in western Europe fell 2.1 percent. Sales in China also declined.

Beiersdorf repeated its forecast that revenue this year will increase 3 percent to 5 percent on a so-called organic basis, compared with growth of 4.7 percent in 2014. Earnings before interest and taxes as a percentage of sales will be slightly better this year, the company also said.

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