PARIS – Henkel AG has finalized the sale of its business activities in Russia to a consortium of local financial investors for 54 billion rubles, or $689.6 million, the group said Thursday.

The German maker of Schwarzkopf, Dial and Diadermine products had announced on April 20  its signing of an agreement to sell that activity, following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Also on Thursday, the Düsseldorf-based group reported first-quarter sales of 5.6 billion euros, up 6.4 percent on a reported basis and 6.6. percent in organic terms.

The organic growth beat financial analysts’ consensus of 4.3 percent.

“That’s a good beat in itself, but is the lowest organic growth – even for consumer alone – and the smallest beat in the sector,” wrote Bruno Monteyne, senior analyst of European Food, Household and Personal Care at Bernstein, in a note.  

He underlined volumes remained weak and just below consensus, at minus 5.4 percent against minus 5.2 percent, “with all the beat on pricing.”

“While volume has sequentially improved since Q4, Henkel remains toward the bottom of the peer group,” noted Martin Deboo, an equity analyst at Jeffries, in a note.

Henkel has been underperforming against its cohorts such as L’Oréal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble in the competitive and dynamic beauty space.

Henkel placed 15th in WWD Beauty Inc’s Top 100 Global Beauty Manufacturer ranking for 2022, which estimated the group’s beauty sales hit 3.58 billion, up 2.6 percent versus 2021.

The company has been undergoing a restructuring. Last year, it merged its Beauty Care and Laundry & Home Care business into a single Consumer Brands business unit ahead of schedule.  That merger is expected to deliver 500 million in savings by the end of this year.

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