Unilever sales growth beats the predictions
Gains achieved in home-care and personal-care businesses
UNILEVER reported quarterly sales growth that beat estimates and affirmed its outlook for the year in its first results announcement since rebuffing a takeover approach from Kraft Heinz.
Underlying sales rose 2.9 percent in the first quarter, the maker of Dove soap and Magnum ice cream said yesterday, compared with the 1.9 percent median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Growth accelerated from 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter. New products The company cited gains in its home-care and personal-care businesses, while sales were unchanged in the food division. The ice-cream unit was helped by new products such as chocolate-coated Magnum pints in a tub. The shares rose as much as 1.3 percent in early trading in Amsterdam.
“It’s a solid kick-off, with ice-cream’s very strong finish to the quarter as the sun was shining in Europe,” chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly said.
Unilever said it expects an improvement in its operating margins of at least 80 basis points this year as it steps up efficiencies in response to the Kraft Heinz takeover approach. Pricing increased by 3 percent in the quarter, while volume fell 0.1 percent, both measures beating analyst estimates.
Packets of Unilever’s Lux liquid body soap sit on display at a Hypermart supermarket in Karawaci, Banten, Indonesia. Unilever reported quarterly sales growth that beat estimates and affirmed its outlook for the year.