Herbalife’s Latin American declines in contrast to strong growth elsewhere

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Herbalife’s Latin American declines in contrast to strong growth elsewhere
The multi-level marketing (MLM) giant reported that sales in Central and South America plunged by 10%. This is in stark contrast to Herbalife’s 15% increase in sales globally, with record sales in China and the rest of Asia.

The company’s third quarter results showed that sales in Central and South America dropped by 10% to come in at about US$105 million. This drop did not factor in the situation in Venezuela, where the economy is imploding. Herbalife said sales in Venezuela now account for less than 1% of its overall total.

Mexico remains a significant market for Herbalife, the world’s biggest MLM devoted solely to the sales of nutritional products, and sales increased 6% in that country in the third quarter to reach $121 million.

Global performance

The results from LatAm are in contract to the company’s booming performance in China, where sales rose 27% year over year to reach $266 million, while the rest of Asia Pacific saw sales grow by 19% to hit $274 million.

“I don't expect that 20% growth rate (in actual product volumes) is sustainable, but I think long term there's big opportunities in China,”​ said John DeSimone, Herbalife’s CFO.

According to Herbalife research, and by 2020, 54% of global middle class households (spending $10 to $100 a day)  will be in Asia, rising to 66% by 2030. By that time, only 7% of such households will be located in North America, 14% in Europe, 6% in Central and South America and 7% in Africa.

Globally, the company’s revenue topped $1.2 billion, representing a 15% year over year increase.

Despite challenges in the North American market like low unemployment and the ‘Amazonification’ of the marketplace, Herbalife still managed to post $240 million in sales for the region. This represents an increase of 20%, compared to the previous year’s Q3.

Increases of just over 10% were also reported in Europe and the Middle East, where sales topped $236 million.