* 2012 sales 6.04 bln euros, vs 6.03 bln forecast
* Sales strong in Russia, Poland, Latin America
* To publish full results March 5
* Shares up 0.3 percent, after fresh record high
(Adds updated share prices, analyst comment)
By Victoria Bryan
FRANKFURT, Jan 24 Sales of Nivea creams and
lotions in emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia helped
German group Beiersdorf counter a weak climate in
Europe and post a 4.7 percent rise in full-year sales.
Emerging markets are a key battleground for European makers
of personal care and household goods seeking to make up for
stuttering growth at home.
Beiersdorf is setting up more research and production
facilities in places such as China and Mexico, while German
rival Henkel, maker of Persil detergent and
Schwarzkopf hair products, is setting up in Brazil, South Africa
and South Korea to develop products for local consumers.
"We have strengthened our Nivea core brand and gained market
share in many countries. Both the Consumer and Tesa (adhesives)
business performed well, in particular in the emerging markets,"
chief executive Stefan Heidenreich said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, shares in Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever,
maker of Dove skincare products, hit an all-time high after
growth beat expectations, propelled by strong sales of haircare
products and soaps in emerging markets.
Beiersdorf shares hit a new high of 64.74 euros on Thursday
and were up 0.3 percent to 64.27 euros at 0855 GMT. Henkel was
up 1.2 percent to the top of the Dax index of leading
German shares, which was down 0.2 percent.
The Nivea maker did not break down sales figures by region,
saying sales at its consumer business fell in western Europe,
compared with strong growth in Latin America, Poland, Russia and
in its Africa/Asia/Australia region.
In the first nine months, sales at its consumer business in
Latin America had risen 15.5 percent, while eastern Europe was
up 7.7 percent, against a 2.5 percent decline in western Europe.
Overall, Beiersdorf reported 2012 sales of 6.04 billion
euros ($8.0 billion), compared with a forecast for 6.03 billion
in a Reuters poll. The consumer business, which makes up 84
percent of sales, saw 4.9 percent growth.
Beiersdorf, which also makes La Prairie luxury skin cream
and Labello lip balm, raised its 2012 sales outlook twice in
five weeks at the end of last year, as a strategy to focus on
new products and markets produced faster than expected results.
It has also rebranded, now using a single logo across all
Nivea products, reflecting the blue Nivea cream tin for which
the group is known.
"It is important that we hold our course in the coming years
and systematically continue the change process we have started,"
Beiersdorf said it was on target for an EBIT margin -
earnings before interest and tax as a percentage of sales - of
around 12 percent for 2012.
Heidenreich wants the consumer division to reach an EBIT
margin of 16 percent in the "medium term".
The group will publish full-year results on March 5, when it
was also expected to provide an outlook for 2013.
($1 = 0.7530 euro)
(Editing by Dan Lalor)