Unilever Reports Strong Half-Year Results

Unilever announced its results for the first half of 2021, citing strong growth in functional nutrition as one of the highlights.

“Unilever has delivered a strong first half, with underlying sales growth of 5.4% driven by our continued focus on operational excellence,” said CEO Alan Jope, in a press release. “We are making good progress against the strategic choices outlined earlier this year, including the development of our portfolio into high growth spaces. Prestige Beauty and Functional Nutrition grew strongly, and we recently announced the acquisition of digitally native skin care brand Paula’s Choice. The operational separation of our Tea business is substantially complete. Our ecommerce business grew 50% and the channel now represents 11% of sales.”

The company’s prime focus: “Competitive growth is our priority, and we are confident that we will deliver underlying sales growth in 2021 well within our multi-year framework of 3-5%, despite more challenging comparators in the second half,” Jope shared. “We have seen further cost inflation emerge through the second quarter. Cost volatility and the timing of landing price actions create a higher-than-normal range of likely year end margin outcomes. We are managing this dynamically and expect to maintain underlying operating margin for 2021 around flat.”

Highlights, as outlined in the announcement:

  • Turnover increased 0.3% including a positive impact of 1.4% from acquisitions net of disposals and negative impact of 6.1% from currency related items
  • Underlying operating margin of 18.8%, a decrease of 100bps driven by investment behind the company’s brands and input cost inflation
  • Underlying earnings per share down 2.0%, including a negative impact of 6.3% from currency

The company’s overall performance, according to the release, is guided by five strategic choices:

    1. Develop the Unilever portfolio into higher growth spaces.
    2. Win with Unilever brands as a force for good, powered by purpose and innovation.
    3. Accelerate in the U.S., India and China, and leverage Unilever’s emerging markets strength.
    4. Lead in the channels of the future.
    5. Build a purpose-led, future-fit organization and growth culture.
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For a closer look, including updates on the beauty & personal care, home care, and food & refreshment markets, read the full report here.