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Beiersdorf expects sales recovery in 2021

BERLIN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Nivea maker Beiersdorf said it was upbeat for a recovery in 2021 even as the German consumer goods firm saw 2020 organic sales fall 5.7% as it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm reported sales of 7.025 billion euros ($8.50 billion) for the year, slightly shy of analyst consensus of 7.071 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) fell 17% to 906 million, ahead of consensus for 885 million.

The 5.7% decline in organic sales is an improvement on the 7.1% fall it reported for the first nine months.

Beiersdorf said for the group as a whole and its consumer business it expected a return to revenue growth in 2021 and an EBIT margin at the same level as 2020.

Its Tesa adhesives unit should also see a return to sales growth, but its EBIT margin will fall due to significant investment.

Chief Executive Stefan de Loecker said he wanted to speed up an investment programme launched in 2019, planning to invest an additional 300 million euros in the coming five years in sustainability, digitalisation and growth markets.

“We still have some uncertainties this year. However, I am confident that with the ramp-up of vaccination in many countries that we will see significant improvements by the end of the year,” he said. ($1 = 0.8267 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Kirsti Knolle)

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