Samples of liquid and powder laundry detergent Persil of German consumer goods group Henkel are pictured at Henkel's annual general shareholders' meeting in Duesseldorf, Germany, April 11 2016. Picture: REUTERS/ WOLFGANG RATTAY
Samples of liquid and powder laundry detergent Persil of German consumer goods group Henkel are pictured at Henkel's annual general shareholders' meeting in Duesseldorf, Germany, April 11 2016. Picture: REUTERS/ WOLFGANG RATTAY

Henkel, owner of consumer brands including Persil detergent and Schwarzkopf shampoo, says it is still working to win back shelf space for its products in the US  after being hit by delivery problems early in 2018. 

While Persil and some other brands have since recovered, Henkel lost promotional slots for mid- and lower-priced products due to the delivery delays at the start of the year, CEO Hans van Bylen told journalists on Thursday.

“We are working with full focus to get growth back in this business,” he said, after Henkel reported that sales in North America slipped 0.8% in July-September from a year earlier.

The German group is battling US rival Procter & Gamble for market share, particularly for detergents and cleaning products after Henkel bought Sun Products, known for its Snuggle brand, for $3.6bn in 2016.

Procter & Gamble reported better-than-expected quarterly figures in October, with organic sales up 4%, and said it is raising prices on several products around the world, sending its shares up by their most in a decade.

Shares in Henkel have fallen 16% in the last year, but were up 3.2% after its results on Thursday, helped by a robust third-quarter performance by its adhesives unit, the maker of Loctite glue.

Organic sales of adhesives, which account for about half of Henkel group sales and include glue for appliances, electronics and packaging, rose 3.8% in the quarter.

Group sales rose 2.7% to €5bn , stripping out acquisitions and the impact from currencies. Earnings per share were up 2.6% to €1.58.

Overall, Henkel’s cleaning products, detergents and home-care products business reported 2.5% sales growth, while sales of beauty care, which includes the Schwarzkopf brand, rose 0.5%.

Henkel reiterated its 2018 guidance for organic sales growth of 2%-4% and adjusted earnings per share to rise by 3%-6%.

Reuters