Unliver CEO: Purpose-Lead Brands Key to Superior Financial Performance

London–Unilever announced the results for its first half of 2019, with underlying sales growth of 3.3%, led by a 6.2% growth from the company’s emerging market business.

Key points shared in the release:

  • Underlying sales grew 3.3% with volume 1.2% and price 2.1%
  • Emerging markets underlying sales growth 6.2% with volume 2.5% and price 3.6%
  • Turnover decreased 0.9% driven by the sale of our spreads business, partially offset by a 1.1% currency benefit
  • Underlying operating margin increased 50bps with 30bps from gross margin
  • Operating margin increased by 40bps
  • Underlying earnings per share increased 5.0%, with constant EPS up 3.0%

In terms of future growth, Unilever points to purpose-led brands. CEO Alan Jope said, “For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year 3-5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow. Our sustainable business model and portfolio of purpose-led brands are key to delivering superior long-term financial performance.”

Unilever reported mixed results across markets. In Europe and North America, the release explains, “Second quarter growth was suppressed by around 50bps due to weak ice cream performance; a result of poorer weather, particularly in Europe following two years of very strong summers.” Positive momentum was seen in emerging markets, including China and South East Asia.

Division highlights: 

  • Underlying sales in the Beauty & Personal Care division grew 3.3%, with the Love, Beauty & Planet line called out for positive performance.
  • Underlying sales in the Home Care division grew 7.4%, and the release noted that Seventh Generation continues to be rolled out in Europe and North Asia, building on the naturals trend.
  • Underlying sales in the Food & Refreshment division grew 1.3%.

More details can be found here.

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