Henkel flags emerging market concerns, confirms targets

FRANKFURT Thu Aug 8, 2013 2:17am EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German consumer goods company Henkel (HNKG_p.DE), which makes washing powder, shampoos and cleaning products, joined rivals in taking a more cautious view of growth in emerging markets as it reported second quarter results in line with expectations.

Henkel on Thursday said it revised its growth forecast for emerging market economies downwards slightly and now expected consumer spending in those countries to rise by 4 percent in 2013, compared with a previous forecast for 5 percent.

It nevertheless maintained its group targets for 2013. It expects adjusted earnings per share to rise 10 percent this year and sales to rise between 3 and 5 percent.

Rival Unilever (ULVR.L) last month spoke of slowing growth in emerging markets, and Beiersdorf (BEIG.DE) on Wednesday flagged concerns amongst consumer goods companies.

Henkel has around 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) available for acquisitions and recently said it was looking at around 80 different targets. Analysts expect Henkel will announce a deal this year, possibly in the United States.

The group, which makes Persil washing powder in Germany and Schwarzkopf hair products, did not, however, provide any update on acquisitions with its release.

Henkel's last major purchase was that of National Starch in 2008 for 3.7 billion euros to expand its adhesives division.

The group reported second-quarter sales of 4.29 billion euros, up 4 percent adjusted for currency effects and driven by emerging markets, and an 8 percent gain in operating profit to 660 million euros.

These were in line with expectations for 4.30 billion and 646 million in a Reuters poll.

($1 = 0.7508 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Jonathan Gould and Christiaan Hetzner)

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