German consumer goods company Henkel sees slight sales decrease in Q1

Nominal sales of Henkel decreased by 0.8 percent year-on-year to 4.9 billion euros (5.31 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, the German consumer goods company announced on Monday.

“We are currently facing a very challenging situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of life and also hit the global economy very hard,” stated Carsten Knobel, chief executive officer (CEO) of Henkel.

Organic sales of Henkel’s adhesive technologies division decreased by 4.1 percent to 2.2 billion euros as performance had been marked by a “significant decrease in industrial production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Henkel’s beauty care division recorded a decline in organic sales of 3.9 percent to 935 million euros. Although the decline had been “mainly driven by volume”, foreign exchange effects had further reduced sales by 0.9 percent.

The laundry and home care business, on the other hand, increased sales by 5.5 percent to 1.75 billion euros. According to Henkel, the rise was mainly attributable to the performance of its core brand Persil which achieved a double-digit percentage increase in sale.

“We have introduced a comprehensive range of protective measures already at an early stage,” commented Knobel. Henkel would have done “everything possible to continue our business activities, despite these difficult circumstances, and to continue serving our customers.”

Nevertheless, Henkel announced that the forecast for 2020, published in the annual report 2019 could no longer be upheld. “As the dynamic development of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the global economy, a reliable and realistic evaluation of the future business performance of Henkel is currently not possible.”

Following the announcement, Henkel was among the most decreasing companies in the DAX, Germany’s index for the 30 largest listed companies, shrinking by almost 3 percent during trading on Monday.