* Q2 EBIT 217 mln eur vs Rtrs poll avg 225 mln
* Sales in Latam hit by Venezuela, Argentina
* CEO says China, Thailand, Vietnam cooling down
* Sees 2014 EBIT margin above 13 percent
* Shares drop 3.3 percent, top DAX decliner (Adds CEO, analysts comments, background, details)
By Kirsti Knolle
FRANKFURT, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Nivea skin cream maker Beiersdorf reported lower-than- expected quarterly results and struck a slightly more cautious approach for its full year outlook as growth in once promising emerging markets stuttered.
Consumer goods companies like Beiersdorf, L‘Oreal and Unilever had previously seen growing demand from increasingly brand-conscious consumers in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America as a way to compensate for saturated Western European markets.
“Markets are cooling down dramatically,” Beiersdorf CEO Stefan Heidenreich said on Thursday, citing in particular China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Societe Generale said in a note to clients that Beiersdorf’s rivals were facing the same challenges but that its organic sales growth remained among the best.
“Beiersdorf is far from alone in reporting a slowdown in emerging markets,” Societe Generale said.
Unilever cited weaker emerging markets, as well as declining prices in developed ones, as it missed second-quarter sales expectations. French peer L‘Oreal felt the slowdown too.
Making up for disappointment in emerging markets, Hamburg-based Beiersdorf reported a 2 percent sales increase in Europe in the three months to end-June and said business in its home market, Germany, was developing very well.
That echoed comments from L‘Oreal, which said it had enjoyed the strongest growth in western Europe since 2007 in the first half.
Overall Beiersdorf, which also makes La Prairie luxury skin care creams and Labello lip balm, reported second-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 217 million euros ($290 million) and sales of 1.575 billion, against forecasts for 225 million and 1.59 billion in a Reuters poll.
Its shares were down 3.3 percent at 1215 GMT, making them the second biggest decliner on the DAX index of German blue-chips.
While Beiersdorf’s business in China slowed partly due to current restructuring, it had to grapple with foreign exchange controls in Venezuela and inflation in Argentine.
The world No. 5 in beauty and personal care products said Latin American sales at its main consumer division were up 5.1 percent when adjusted for currency effects, but the weakness of major South American currencies against the euro resulted in a 5.4 percent slide in sales.
Latin American sales contribute about 12 percent to Beiersdorf’s group sales.
“Given the highly protectionist tendencies in many Latin American countries, developments are difficult to forecast for this area,” Beiersdorf said in its quarterly report.
Beiersdorf said it now expects its full year EBIT margin - operating profit as a percentage of sales - to be above 13 percent. Its previous guidance was for a margin slightly above the 2013 level of 13.2 percent.
The company still sees the EBIT margin of its consumer division, which accounts for about 80 percent of group sales and includes its skin and hair-care brands, rising to around 13 percent from last year’s 12.5 percent.
For its Tesa unit, which makes industrial adhesives used in cars, smartphones and tablet computers, the company now expects a margin around 16 percent. It previously said it saw this figure slightly below last year’s 16.9 percent.
1 US dollar = 0.7475 euro Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Marilyn Gerlach/Ruth Pitchford