DARMSTADT, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This summer, Merck’s Consumer Health division has marked 80 years since the launch of the world’s first commercial, powdered Vitamin C product Cebion®. Based on the substance discovery in 1932 through the later Nobel Prize winners Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrapolt (Hungary) and Walter Norman Haworth (UK), Merck had initially started extracting ascorbic acid from diverse plants and flowers, before later on synthesizing the substance for mass production. The in-market launch in 1934 already saw a diversified portfolio with Cebion bulk, tablets and ampoules in different dosages.
“2014 is a milestone year for Merck’s Consumer Health division, marking 80 years since the launch of the Cebion brand. This year has also already seen significant progress in fully integrating Neurobion and Floratil into the division and in achieving impressive growth in emerging and established markets. The division remains focused on its strategy to achieve a minimum of 3% market share and at least 3 strong brands per key market,” said Uta Kemmerich-Keil, CEO and President of the Consumer Health division at Merck since May 15.
80 years of success
Since the pioneering times of the 1930ies and 1940ies, the Cebion brand has evolved through a series of milestones, including special edition products marking the moon landings in 1969 and through brand sponsorship of the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. From 1974 until 2002, Cebion was produced at Merck’s global headquarters within one of the globally largest ascorbic acid manufacturing facilities. Until today, the brand has a strong recoginition and continues to perform very well, particularly in emerging markets such as Brazil and Venezuela.
Integration of new arrivals on track
In addition to marking 80 years of success with Cebion, Merck’s Consumer Health Division continues to diversify its portfolio. With Neurobion® and Floratil® two brands with annual turnover of over € 250 million were recently transitioned from Merck Serono and have now been incorporated into Merck’s Consumer Health division this year. This has enabled the division to triple the size of its Americas business and double the size of the business in Asia. The incorporation of new brands into the division remains on track and has delivered ahead of expectations in the first quarter of 2014. Particularly successful has been the performance of Floratil in Brazil which has driven a market share turnaround with 45% year on year growth up to February 2014 based on a fresh DTC Marketing campaign which has resonated very well with local consumers.
Strong financial performance in Q1
In the first quarter of 2014, the division reported a growth in organic sales ahead of the same period in 2013 (based on restated 2013 figures for the two new brands Neurobion and Floratil). Across the division, sales demonstrated organic growth of 5.7% to € 180 million countered by negative currency impacts of -6.5%. The first quarter of 2014 also showed a profit (EBITDA pre one-time items) increase of 5.0% to € 41 million versus € 39 million for the same period one year ago. Top organic sales performers compared with the first quarter of 2013 were Sangobion, Femibion and Cebion, while sales of both new brands Neurobion and Floratil also grew organically.
About the Merck Consumer Health Division
Brands of the Merck Consumer Health division, such as Neurobion®, Floratil®, Bion®, Nasivin®, Seven Seas®, Femibion®, Kytta®, Sangobion®, Sedalmerck®, and Cebion®, are innovative leaders in key markets, backed by science and trusted by consumers worldwide. The division Consumer Health is with its around 2,000 employees globally active in over 40 markets. Since 2014, the portfolio comprises of brands with annual total revenues of over $ 1 billion. Consumer Health is a division of the Merck Group with global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.
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Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. Around 38,000 employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges. We generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013 with our four divisions: Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore.
Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. Since 1668 our name has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. The founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. We are Merck, the original, and hold the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where we are known as EMD.