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Henkel still recovering after U.S. delivery problems

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Henkel still recovering after U.S. delivery problems

Henkel still recovering after U.S. delivery problems
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Ina Fassbender(Reuters)
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By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) - Henkel <HNKG_p.DE>, owner of consumer brands including Persil detergent and Schwarzkopf shampoo, said it is still working to win back shelf space for its products in the United States after being hit by delivery problems early this year.

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While Persil and some other brands have since recovered, Henkel lost promotional slots for mid and lower-priced products due to the delivery delays at the start of the year, Chief Executive Hans van Bylen told journalists on Thursday.

"We are working with full focus to get growth back in this business," he said, after Henkel reported that sales in North America slipped 0.8 percent in July-September from a year earlier.

The German group is battling U.S. rival Procter & Gamble Co <PG.N> for market share, particularly for detergents and cleaning products after Henkel bought Sun Products, known for its Snuggle brand, for $3.6 billion in 2016.

P&G reported better-than-expected quarterly figures last month, with organic sales up 4 percent, and said it was raising prices on several products around the world, sending its shares up by their most in a decade.

Shares in Henkel have fallen 16 percent in the last year, but were up 3.2 percent after its results on Thursday, helped by a robust third-quarter performance by its adhesives unit, the maker of Loctite glue.

Organic sales of adhesives, which account for about half of Henkel group sales and include glue for appliances, electronics and packaging, rose 3.8 percent in the quarter.

Group sales rose 2.7 percent to 5 billion euros (4.45 billion pounds), stripping out acquisitions and the impact from currencies. Earnings per share were up 2.6 percent to 1.58 euros.

Overall, Henkel's cleaning products and detergents and home care products business reported 2.5 percent sales growth, while sales of beauty care, which includes the Schwarzkopf brand, rose 0.5 percent.

Henkel reiterated its 2018 guidance for organic sales growth of 2-4 percent and adjusted EPS to rise by 3-6 percent.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Thomas Seythal and Susan Fenton)

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