German consumer goods firm Beiersdorf said it was 'cautiously optimistic' for 2020, despite reporting another quarter of slowing sales growth for its skincare and adhesives units.
The company reported group organic sales growth slowed to 4.1% for all of 2019, from 4.3% for the first nine months, with annual sales coming in at 7.653 billion euros ($8.53 billion), roughly in line with analyst consensus.
The consumer unit, which makes brands including Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie, saw full-year sales growth of 4.8%, down from 5.1% in the first nine months.
"Even though we expect headwinds in the 2020 financial year... we ... are looking forward to the fiscal year ahead with cautious optimism," Chief Executive Stefan de Loecker said in a statement.
'Sell' From 'Hold'
Shares in Beiersdorf were knocked on Tuesday when Societe Generale cuts the stock to 'sell' from 'hold', saying it sees a slowdown in the Nivea and La Prairie brands in the first half of 2020.
Beiersdorf has been suffering as consumers have moved away from mass-market labels such as Nivea towards niche labels and products with more natural ingredients, prompting the company to set up an innovation unit to develop new 'indie' brands.
The Tesa business, which makes adhesives for the automotive and electronics industries and accounts for about 20% of sales, reported sales growth slowed again to 0.8% for the full year from 1.2% in the first nine months.
Beiersdorf said the electronics business performed well but sales were weak in the automotive business due to an uncertain market environment.