Unilever PLC Reports Strong Annual And First Quarter Results

Unilever PLC reported results for the full year and the first quarter.

Unilever PLC reported the following full year highlights:

  • Turnover up 11.1 percent at EUR44.3 billion, with 7.3 percent due to currency.
  • Underlying volume growth 5.8 percent.
  • Underlying operating margin up 20 bps with increased investment in advertising and promotions up 30 bps.
  • Margin underpinned by savings of EUR 1.4 billion.
  • Healthy free cash flow of EUR 3.4 billion, reflecting continuing improvement in working capital.
  • Fully diluted earnings per share EUR 1.46, up 25 percent.

Fourth quarter highlights include:

  • Underlying volume growth of 5.1 percent.
  • Underlying operating margin down 20 bps. Lower gross margin is primarily due to increased commodity costs.

"We are pleased with another year of good results in which we delivered against all our key priorities and further progressed the transformation of Unilever," said Paul Polman, chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "We delivered strong volume growth, particularly in emerging markets which continued to be the engine of growth. We gained volume share in all regions driven by stronger innovations, significant increases in

marketing investment and the extension of our brands into new territories. At the same time we delivered margin improvement through a strong savings program, lower indirects and volume efficiencies. This, coupled with excellent working capital management, enabled us to deliver robust cash flow.

"The Unilever of today is more agile and confident, now fully fit to compete. We remain focused on serving our consumers and customers and building the long term health of our brands. Despite the intense competition and the return of commodity cost volatility, our objectives remain: profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable underlying operating margin improvement and strong cash flow."

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