German consumer goods company Henkel is responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by launching more hygiene-related products. The company, known for brands such as Dial soap and Persil detergent, has seen a significant increase in sales of detergents, soap, and household cleaners in the first quarter of this year.

Henkel’s CEO, Carsten Knobel, expects the demand for hygiene products to continue even after the crisis subsides. In preparation for this, the company has already increased its soap supply by 30% and introduced new products such as Persil Hygiene in Mexico, anti-bacterial dishwasher fluid in Egypt and Turkey, and hand sanitizer under the Pril brand.

However, Henkel does anticipate challenges in the second quarter. The company’s adhesives unit has been heavily impacted by the contraction in the automotive industry, and its beauty care business has suffered from the global closure of hair salons. Sales of adhesives fell 4.1% in the first quarter, and beauty care sales were down 3.9%.

Despite these challenges, Henkel’s laundry and home care business experienced a 5.5% increase in organic sales. Products like Pril washing-up liquid and Persil have performed well, competing with brands like Procter & Gamble’s Tide, which recently reported strong sales growth in the United States due to increased demand for cleaning essentials during lockdowns.

Henkel’s beauty care unit was struggling even before the pandemic, leading the company to announce plans to sell or discontinue certain brands in its consumer businesses by 2021. Despite market volatility, Henkel is sticking to these divestment plans, although with some adjustments.

As hair salons slowly reopen, Henkel is providing disinfectant products to help them meet social distancing and hygiene regulations. While salons are operating at reduced capacity, the body care category, particularly the Dial soap brand, has shown strong performance.

Overall, Henkel remains optimistic about its sales prospects in the hygiene sector despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The company is actively adapting its strategies to maximize the value of its businesses and is exploring potential acquisition opportunities.

Useful links:
– [Link 1: Henkel’s hygiene-related products](
– [Link 2: Sales growth of Procter & Gamble’s Tide](