Unilever sales growth boosted by emerging markets results

first_imgUnilever sales growth boosted by emerging markets resultsPosted By: News Deskon: April 19, 2018In: Beverage, Business, Financial, Food, IndustriesPrintEmailUnilever saw its underlying sales growth – excluding its spreads unit – increase 3.7% in the first quarter of 2018 as it continued to build its presence in emerging markets.Turnover in the first three months of the year decreased 5.3% to €12.6 billion. The results follow a deal made at the end of last which which saw Unilever sell its spreads business – which includes brands such as Flora, Stork and Blue Band – to US private equity firm KKR for €6.83 billion.Underlying sales growth in emerging markets was up 5.1% with a “strong contribution from volume”. Developed markets grew by 1.1% despite continued price deflation in Europe and North America.In its food and refreshment division, Unilever said it sustained a strong performance in foodservice channels while responding to consumer needs in fast-growing segments such as free-from and vegan.Innovations behind its premium ice cream brands contributed positively to the results. These included the launch of Magnum core and praline variants and the roll-out of the Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy platform from the US into Europe.Unilever’s leaf tea brands continued with the positive momentum shown in 2017, driven by innovations in green and other speciality teas in India. The recently acquired Pukka Herbs organic herbal tea business had a “very good” first quarter.Knorr delivered a quarter of growth above the group average, primarily driven by cooking products in emerging markets.Unilever CEO Paul Polman © World Economic Forum/FlickrUnilever CEO Paul Polman, who is expected to step down from his €8.3 million-a-year position next year, said: “The first quarter demonstrates another good volume-driven performance across all three divisions. The broad-based growth, including over 4% volume growth in emerging markets, shows that the ‘connected 4 growth’ programme is working and enhancing our long-term compounding growth model.“We are further improving the quality and speed of our global and local innovation as a result of a more agile, consumer-facing organisation. At the same time, we are maintaining strong delivery from our savings programmes and expecting to complete the exit from spreads in the middle of the year.“For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth in the 3%-5% range and an improvement in underlying operating margin and cash flow that keep us on track for our 2020 goals.“We intend to start a share buy-back programme of up to €6 billion in May to return the expected after-tax proceeds from the spreads disposal. We are raising the dividend by 8%, reflecting confidence in our outlook.”Earlier this year, Unilever chose the Netherlands over the UK for its global headquarters as it simplifies from two legal entities into one Dutch corporate entity.The transition will see Unilever’s two legal entities – a UK PLC and a Dutch NV – become one unit incorporated in the Netherlands. The company said this reflects the fact that shares in NV account for around 55% of the group’s combined ordinary share capital.Unilever stressed that the employment of 7,300 people in the UK and 3,100 people in the Netherlands will be unaffected by the changes.Share with your network: Tags: NetherlandsUKUnileverlast_img

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