The decline in Emergen-C came from North America, where there has been a slowdown of the immunity category as demand reverted to pre-COVID-19 levels, the company said in its Q3 financial results.
“We remain confident in the [VMS] category.
“We have two strong years of growth in VMS…Emergen-C is a bit down, but Centrum is making up for that,” Tobias Hestler, chief financial officer said in response to an analyst’s question during the Q&A session of the financial results presentation.
Revenue from its VMS business was down 6.2 per cent in Q3 of this year to 410m pounds sterling (US$508m).
“Centrum experienced double-digit growth largely in China, the US and Middle East & Africa, partly offset by a double-digit decline in Emergen-C in North America as the immunity category continued to revert to pre-COVID-19 levels,” the company said in its Q3 financial statement.
Hestler said that the Centrum brand would be activating geographical expansion and clinical trials.
“Centrum, we feel really strong about this brand, we are into geographic expansion activation and activating on the clinical trials and the claims that we are rolling out globally, so I think the brand is really strong.”
Consumption of Emergen-C, on the other hand, has stabilised and is following the pre-COVID-19 pattern.
“[For] Emergen-C, it’s good to see that consumption has stabilised at the 2019 level in units and it's now following the pattern where it was pre-COVID.”
In Asia-Pacific, its VMS business grew low-single digit, with double digit growth in Centrum partly offset by a low-single digit decline in Caltrate.
Caltrate, known for its bone health supplements, saw a decline following a strong comparative in the prior year in South East Asia and Taiwan.
Greater China grew mid-single digit with strong results in Centrum and oral care toothpaste brand Sensodyne.
This was however, partly offset by a decline in its pain relief product Fenbid and respiratory health product Contac following strong sales during the first half of 2023 and the subsequent normalisation of stock levels in the second half of the year.
Revenue of its digestive Health products were up low-single digit.
The company’s total revenue was down 3.3 per cent in Q3 to 2,798m pounds sterling (US$3,467m). Its revenue in APAC contracted 4.6 per cent to 625m pounds sterling (US$774m).
Revenue in the North America similarly shrunk by 7.5 per cent, while growth of 1.7 per cent was seen in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
Cumulatively, its VMS revenue in the first nine months of this year was down 2.2 per cent yoy to 1,226m pounds sterling (US$1,519m).