Beiersdorf Shares Drop as Sales Growth Falls Short of Estimates

Shares of Beiersdorf AG fell the most since 2010 after the maker of Nivea body washes and Eucerin lotions reported first-half revenue growth that trailed analyst expectations.

Beiersdorf stock declined as much as 5.2 percent to 63.68 euros. Organic sales rose 5 percent in the first six months of the year, the Hamburg-based company said today. Analysts had anticipated growth of 5.9 percent on that basis, according to the median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

“While the market was braced for a soggy second-quarter sales print, this is likely worse than anyone had feared,” Exane analysts including Jeff Stent wrote in a note today.

Growth slowed from the 6.7 percent pace the company reported in the first three months of the year as shoppers in China spent less and customers around the globe shunned Beiersdorf’s smaller brands including Labello lip balms, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Heidenreich said on a call with journalists.

The shares traded at 64.31 euros at 1:06 p.m. in Frankfurt, bringing their annual decline to 13 percent and the company’s market value to 16.2 billion euros.

New Push

Under Heidenreich, Beiersdorf has been investing in its biggest brands and expanding sales in new markets including India and the Middle East. The executive pledged to start promoting the smaller brands more in coming weeks.

The company repeated its forecast for sales growth of between 4 percent and 6 percent this year. Earnings before interest and taxes from operations as a percentage of sales will be above 13 percent.

“The global economic situation looks set to improve in 2014,” the company said today. “We expect that this trend will be driven mainly by the industrialized nations, while growth in the developing countries and emerging markets will be somewhat lower than in previous years.”

Still, Beiersdorf’s organic sales growth is faster than the 4.5 percent pace posted by larger European rival Unilever in the first half at its personal-care division, while Procter & Gamble Co. last week said it plans to eliminate as many as 100 brands in the next two years to cut costs and focus on its most important product lines.

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