Trans-Atlantic Award

From Chainsaws to Glue

Henkel Persil US Handelsblatt
Henkel introduced Persil, one of its most famous detergent brands in Germany, into the U.S. market last year.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Henkel has gained a foothold in North America by purchasing the Sun Corporation, but it needs to successfully integrate the two companies to consolidate its position as the second-largest detergent maker on the continent.

  • Facts


    • As a result of Henkel’s acquisition of The Sun Product Corporation, its proceeds in North America now amount to $5.6 billion (€5.1 billion), around a fourth of its total revenues.
    • To fund its $3.6-billion purchase of U.S. detergent maker Sun, Henkel raised €2.2 billion, by issuing a bond which matures in 2018.
    • Henkel’s rival Procter & Gamble reported total net sales of  $65.3 billion for the fiscal year 2016 (ending on  June 30), of which 44 percent were achieved in North America and 23 percent in Europe.
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As an eight-year-old boy, Jerry Perkins was already riding about the place on a motorcycle. But it wasn’t just motocross races that dirtied up his clothes. The boy once took his father’s chainsaw apart in order to repair its gas engine. Remarkably, the machine worked afterwards, Mr. Perkins remembers.

Oil, dirt, sometimes blood stains were frequent in his mother’s weekly laundry back in small-town Connecticut. Perhaps it’s fitting that Mr. Perkins is now the president of Henkel North America.

The German consumer conglomerate is busy making a splash on the U.S. market. Henkel last year introduced the laundry detergent Persil, a popular German brand, to the United States – and has had its first successes. “Persil is developing splendidly,” Mr. Perkins said.

That product introduction had one goal: to challenge global leader Procter & Gamble on its home turf.

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