(Adds details, CEO quote)
By Martinne Geller
LONDON, March 8 Demand for Nivea, Eucerin and La
Prairie skincare products helped German consumer goods maker
Beiersdorf overcome a "difficult market" and increase
2016 annual sales and profit.
Beiersdorf said on Wednesday its 2016 sales rose to 6.75
billion euros from 6.69 billion in 2015. Before its preliminary
results in January, analysts had expected sales of 6.72 billion
euros ($7.1 billion).
Organic sales rose 3.2 percent, with sales in its much
larger consumer segment up 3.3 percent, and sales in the tesa
adhesives business up 2.6 percent.
The Hamburg-based company said group earnings before
interest and tax (EBIT) rose to 1.02 billion euros from 962
million euros in 2015. Its margin rose to 15 percent, its
highest ever, from 14.4 percent in 2015.
"Contrary to the general market trend in the industry, we
experienced strong growth, especially in the fourth quarter,"
Chief Executive Stefan Heidenreich said in a statement.
Beiersdorf cited particularly strong growth in Eastern
Europe and its Africa/Asia/Australia segment, except for China,
where sales fell.
"Although the environment will remain tough, we look to
fiscal year 2017 with cautious optimism," Heidenreich added.
Beiersdorf forecast sales growth of 3 percent to 4 percent
and a slight improvement in its EBIT margin for 2017. It said it
would propose a dividend of 70 euro cents per share, unchanged
from the prior year.
($1 = 0.9469 euros)
(Editing by David Clarke and Alexander Smith)