Early signs from quarterly results published last week by CHC marketers, with both a global (P&G) and European (Galenica, Alliance Pharma) focus, indicate that consumer healthcare growth continued to be robust in the final quarter of 2020. There are some warning signs on the dashboard, notably P&G’s reference to a “historically slow start” to the cough, cold & flu season – which inevitably will impact its key CHC brand and global No.1 Vicks – but the strong performance of the former Merck KGaA OTC products that P&G acquired in 2018, including various VMS brands (Neurobion, Seven Seas, etc) which produced growth in the “high teens” in Q4, point to the importance of a strong portfolio mix.
In its January 2021 investor presentation, Swiss-based Galenica said it has slightly exceeded its sales guidance (+2-5%), generating a 5.4% rise in net sales in 2020 to CHF3.5bn (US$4bn). Health & Beauty recorded net sales of CHF1.7bn (US$1.9bn, +3.1%); Retail accounted for CHF1.5bn (US$1.7bn, +2.7%); and Products & Brands CHF111.7mn (US$126mn, +9.4%). Cold, beauty, travel-related and ibuprofen products were very negatively impacted by Covid-19, with additional sales from hygiene and prevention products only partially compensating for this. Growth was driven by expansion activities such as acquisitions in the pharmacy network and product portfolio. In its facts & figures for 2020 (see below), Galenica pointed to several CHC trends, such as the sharp decline of cough products and the rise of antiseptics & disinfectants like Septo Clean.
According to an unaudited trading update for the year ended 31st December 2020, UK-based Alliance Pharma said that “see-through” revenues (including underlying sales from Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo) for 2020 were down 5% on the prior year at £137.5mn (US$188mn), both on a reported and constant currency basis. The company noted this reflects the impact of Covid-19. Consumer Healthcare revenues were up 1% to £93.0mn (US$127mn). Scar treatment Kelo-cote revenues rose by 12% to £34.7mn (US$47mn) and Nizoral was 4% ahead at £21.0mn (US$29mn). The recent acquisition of US-based Biogix, which brought Amberen – a fast-growing brand for the relief of menopause symptoms – into the group, is expected to be earnings-enhancing in FY 2021 and significantly earnings-enhancing from FY 2022.
Alliance Pharma CEO, Peter Butterfield, said: “The group continued to deliver a robust operational and financial performance in H2 2020, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. While topline revenue growth has been constrained overall, our Consumer Healthcare business has performed well given the market backdrop and we have seen some strong performances from a number of our brands, in particular Kelo-cote.”
We have just announced a full schedule of webinars to take you through 2021. Exploring a range of trends and issues impacting the industry, we are kicking off with regional overviews of the Sleep, Memory & Mood markets. You can sign up for either the Asia-Pacific Hot Topic Webinar on 24 February, or the North America & Latin America Hot Topic Webinar on 3 March. Find out about the rest of our online events for 2021, by contacting elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.