Unilever sales growth beats the pre­dic­tions

Gains achieved in home-care and per­sonal-care busi­nesses

The Star Late Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Thomas Buck­ley

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.

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