Business activity and strategy

The Laundry & Home Care business sector is globally active in the laundry and home care Branded Consumer Goods business. The Laundry business includes not only heavy-duty and specialty detergents but also fabric softeners, laundry performance enhancers and laundry care products. Our Home Care product portfolio encompasses hand and automatic dishwashing products, cleaners for bathroom and WC applications, and household, glass and specialty cleaners. We also offer air fresheners and insecticides for household applications in selected regions.

Our aim is to continue generating profitable growth through expansion of our continuing operations. We therefore intend to pursue both sustainable market share gains and further margin improvements. Based on our leading positions in the profitable mature markets of Western Europe and North America, we plan to further expand the share of sales from emerging markets, particularly Eastern Europe, Africa/ Middle East and Latin America. We intend to leverage the dynamics of these regions in order to accelerate the growth of our portfolio. We also endeavor to further increase our market share and raise profitability to the higher level of the mature markets.

Strong brands and innovations offering consumers added value provide the basis of our strategy of profitable growth. Successful product launches again contributed significantly to our positive business performance in the year under review. In 2012, we managed to increase our innovation rate1 to 42 percent. Through central and more efficient management of our innovation process and deepened insights into the purchasing habits of consumers, we are able to quickly identify and respond to consumer trends and effectively convert these into new products. By prioritizing categories and centrally steering our global brand portfolio, we are able to direct our investments toward those segments that offer growth and profitability, enabling us to generate disproportionately strong growth with our most important brands and market segments. In 2012, we generated 84 percent of our sales with our top ten brand clusters. A brand cluster comprises several individual local brands which, in terms of their positioning, are comparable to a large international brand. By adopting this approach, we are able to generate high synergies in our marketing mix.

1
Percentage share of sales generated with new products launched onto the market within the last three years.

42 %innovation rate.