Bayer highlights innovations as sales rise by 6.5%

Bayer highlights innovations as sales rise by 6.5%
Bayer Consumer Health delivered broad-based growth across all of its regions and nearly all of its categories, says Heiko Schipper, president of Bayer Consumer Health

2 March 2022 - Deborah Wilkes

  • Bayer Consumer Health’s sales up by 6.5% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis in 2021
  • Growth was driven by a double-digit sales rise for the Nutritionals category
  • Launches of innovative products boosted growth

Bayer said its Consumer Health division was “accelerating growth with innovation” as it reported worldwide sales up by 6.5% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR5.29 billion (USD5.84 billion) in 2021.

Growth had been driven by a double-digit sales rise for the Nutritionals category, said Bayer, adding the “launch of innovative products across all categories” had also boosted growth.

Bayer’s chief executive officer Werner Baumann highlighted Consumer Health’s “successful launches” including Bepanthen Derma skincare products in Latin America, Europe and Asia, and AleveX topical pain relief products in the US.

Other product launches in 2021 included a line extension to the Redoxon brand in the Nutritionals category in the Asia-Pacific region. The company launched a single vitamin C product in chewable and film-coated tablet formats for adults and children.

Astepro launch in the US

Baumann also highlighted the imminent US launch of Astepro Allergy Nasal Spray.

In June 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the switch of Astepro (azelastine hydrochloride 0.15%) from prescription-to-OTC status (click here to read the News story).

At the time, Bayer said Astepro Allergy Nasal Spray would be available at national mass retail locations in the first quarter of 2022.

Announcing the 2021 financial results, Heiko Schipper, president of Bayer Consumer Health, said Astepro would be the “first and only steroid-free antihistamine nasal spray for allergies” to be available OTC in the US.

“This prescription-to-OTC switch represents a significant milestone for our business as it strengthens our leading allergy portfolio and offers a differentiated solution to the 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies,” he added.

Bayer noted that Consumer Health’s innovation pipeline contained around 150 active projects across all categories.

The company also drew attention to Consumer Health’s digitalisation work. “We have entered into a partnership with Ada Health, a company which has developed an artificial intelligence-based platform that analyses each individual’s health status and helps users find appropriate medical care”, added Bayer.

2021 financial results

Commenting on the financial performance in 2021, Schipper said Consumer Health had delivered broad-based growth across all of its regions and nearly all of its categories.

Bayer Consumer Health’s performance in 2021 came on top of an increase of 5.2% in 2020.

The Nutritionals category – which houses vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) brands including Berocca, Elevit, One A Day, Redoxon and Supradyn – was the largest for the business (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: Bayer Consumer Health’s worldwide sales in 2021, broken down by product category. Comparison is with the same period a year earlier. Adjusted change in sales is adjusted to exclude the impact of currency translations and portfolio changes (Source – Bayer/OTCToolbox)

 

Worldwide sales of Nutritionals rose by 11.7% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR1.47 billion. The rise was achieved despite a comparison with growth of 22.6% in the same period a year earlier.

Noting the Nutritionals category had recorded “strong double-digit growth” for the past two years, Schipper said the powerbrands One A Day and Redoxon had performed “very well”.

Dermatology sales increased by 5.1% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR1.12 billion in 2021. Schipper highlighted the performance of Bepanthen Derma, the daily range for dry skin that was launched in nine countries including Brazil, France and Germany in 2021.

Pain & Cardio sales were up by 8.0% to EUR834 million, following the launch of AleveX topical pain relief products in the US.

Digestive Health sales rose by 9.7% to EUR771 million.

Allergy & Cold sales decline

By contrast, the Allergy & Cold category recorded sales down by 2.1% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR1.04 billion.

Schipper said 2021 had been a “tale of two halves” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The first half of the year was negative due to an historically weak flu season,” he explained, “but for the second half of 2021 we saw robust growth following the opening up of many countries.”

Performance by geographic region

Looking at geographic regions, North America was the largest with sales up by 3.3% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR2.08 billion in 2021. North America accounted for 39.2% of worldwide sales (see Figure 2 below).

Bayer said the Nutritionals category in North America had “increased significantly” against a very strong prior year.

Figure 2: Bayer Consumer Health’s worldwide sales in 2021, broken down by geographic region. Comparison is with the same period a year earlier. Adjusted change in sales is adjusted to exclude the impact of currency translations and portfolio changes (Source – Bayer/OTCToolbox)

 

In the second-largest region – Europe/Middle East/Africa – Consumer Health's sales were up by 4.6% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR1.78 billion. Bayer said growth had been driven mainly by high demand in the Dermatology category which had benefitted from the Bepanthen Derma innovation

Consumer Health's sales in the Asia/Pacific region were up by 10.5% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR829 million. Growth had been driven largely by the Nutritionals category, said Bayer.

Sales in Latin America rose by 19.5% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis to EUR610 million. Bayer said there had been substantial growth in the Pain & Cardio and Nutritionals categories.

EBITDA before special items

Bayer Consumer Health's Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) before special items increased by 6.8% as reported to EUR1.19 billion in 2021.

The EBITDA before special items margin was 22.5%, which represented a rise of 0.5 percentage points compared to the same period a year earlier.

Schipper said the margin expansion had been driven by “disciplined spending and pricing measures compensating for the inflationary cost increases and still enabling us to invest in marketing and innovation behind our brands”.

Prospects for 2022

Commenting on the prospects for 2022, Schipper said Consumer Health’s sales were expected to “grow 4%-5% with a further step-up in innovation”.

The EBITDA before special items margin was expected to be 22%-23%, he added.

Bayer Consumer Health recently won the OTCToolbox Consumer Healthcare Industry (CHi) Award for Regulatory Achievement of the Year (click here to read the News story).

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