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Strong Growth as Unilever’s Transformation Progresses

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Strong Growth as Unilever’s Transformation Progresses

Strong Growth as Unilever’s Transformation Progresses
February 04
12:34 2011

Despite intense competition, weak consumer confidence in many markets and the impact of rising commodities costs in the second half, Unilever has delivered a strong financial performance in 2010 as it continued with its transformation strategy. Whilst markets showed little or no growth in the developed economies, emerging market growth remained healthy.

Turnover rose 11.1% (3.6% at constant currency rates) to Eur44.3b and underlying operating profit advanced 12% to Eur6.6b. Profit before tax was up 25% (18% at constant currency) to Eur6.1b and net profit rose 26% to Eur4.6b. Underlying volume growth was 5.8% while underlying sales growth was 4.1%.

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever.

“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. 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,” says Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever.

He continues: “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.”

Despite difficult markets in Western Europe Unilever delivered volume growth and improved volume share in the year, with positive volume growth in the fourth quarter. Underlying price continued to improve but was still negative year-on-year reflecting the high levels of promotional intensity in many markets. Conditions in Southern Europe remain particularly challenging. Northern Europe is more robust and Unilever saw strong performances in the UK and France. Underlying operating margin was up in the year, reflecting the benefits of cost saving programmes and lower advertising and promotions.

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