* 2013 sales 6.14 bln euros vs Rtrs poll avg 6.19 bln
* CEO contract extended to end 2019
* Confirms forecast for 2013 EBIT margin of 13 pct
* Sales in western Europe improve
* Shares rise 2 percent, lead DAX
By Victoria Bryan
FRANKFURT, Jan 16 Germany's Beiersdorf
, the maker of Nivea skin care creams, said it was
extending its chief executive's contract after his turnaround
strategy led the group to its highest level of underlying sales
growth in five years.
Beiersdorf, which also makes La Prairie luxury face creams
and Labello lip balms, reported 2013 sales of 6.14 billion euros
($8.4 billion), a 7.2 percent jump and its fastest growth since
Stefan Heidenreich took over as CEO in April 2012, at a time
when the group was losing market share to rivals like L'Oreal
and profit margins were falling. Under his leadership
Beiersdorf introduced a new Nivea logo, focused on emerging
markets, stripped out underperforming lines, and regained market
The company's 2013 sales growth was boosted by a
surprisingly good performance in western Europe. Globally its
consumer division, which accounts for 83 percent of turnover,
saw sales rise 7 percent to 5.1 billion euros.
Beiersdorf also confirmed a forecast for its 2013 EBIT
margin - earnings before interest and tax as a percentage of
sales - to reach 13 percent, up from 12.2 percent in 2012.
On Thursday Heidenreich's contract was extended to the end
of 2019 and analysts said his restructuring was paying off.
"The major take away from strong Q4 sales is that
Beiersdorf continues to outgrow major peers in cosmetics,"
Commerzbank analyst Andreas Riemann wrote in a note.
Beiersdorf shares rose 2 percent, leading German blue chips
The stock has long been underpinned by speculation that
Beiersdorf could be a takeover target for a bigger company like
Procter & Gamble - but according to Bernstein analyst
Andrew Wood the contract extension suggests the Herz family,
which controls just over 50 percent of the group, may not be
willing to sell for some time.
Beiersdorf shares trade on 27.6 times predicted earnings,
compared with an average of 17.1 for its peer group, according
to Reuters data.
The company also makes industrial adhesives used in cars,
smartphones and tablet computers, and sales at this division
rose 8.4 percent in 2013, helped by demand in the electronics
and automotive industries in the United States and Asia.
Beiersdorf, which competes in adhesives with local rival
Henkel, will report full 2013 results on March 4.