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Unilever PLC announces 1st Quarter Results

Apr 26 2012 12:00AM



LONDON -- (Marketwire) -- 04/26/12 --

UNILEVER TRADING STATEMENT FIRST QUARTER 2012FIRST QUARTER: GOOD START TO THE YEARFirst quarter highlights- Turnover increased by 11.9% to EUR12.1 billion- Underlying sales growth 8.4% with emerging markets up 11.9% and developed markets up 4.2%; all categories contributing to growth- Underlying volume growth 3.5%, pricing up 4.7%- Acquisitions net of disposals contributed 2.7% to turnover; Alberto Culver brands performing well and Concern Kalina integration on track- Quarterly dividend up 8% to EUR 0.243Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer statement"We have made a good start tothe year which underlines the progressthat we have made in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growthcompany. We have grown ahead of our markets with all Categoriesdelivering positive volume growth. Emerging markets, now 56% of thebusiness, have again delivered strong growth and whilst the goodperformance in developed markets was against a weak prior yearcomparator, our performance is pleasing given struggling economies,continued fragile consumer confidence and competitor activity.The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is at the heart of our strategy.Increasingly, sustainable growth will be the only acceptable way ofdoing business. Our future success depends upon being able to decouplegrowth from our environmental footprint while at the same timeincreasing our positive social impacts. We are now seeing increasingevidence that this can drive business growth. For example, Lifebuoy isgrowing consistently as we roll out our hand washing programmes, enternew markets and launch new products such as Lifebuoy Clini-Care10,which delivers breakthrough technology for germ protection and superiorskin care.The external macro-economic environment remains difficult and higherinput cost headwinds persist. We continue to implement our strategywith discipline and to manage our brands for the long term health ofthe business. Our long term priorities remain unchanged - profitablevolume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable coreoperating margin improvement and strong cash flow. For 2012, we remainon track to deliver a modest improvement in full year core operatingmargin, weighted towards the second half of the year."26 April 2012OPERATIONAL REVIEW: CATEGORIES First Quarter 2012 Turnover USG UVG UPG (unaudited) EURm % % %Unilever Total 12,144 8.4 3.5 4.7Personal Care 4,260 10.4 6.1 4.0Foods 3,568 5.9 0.4 5.5Home Care 2,198 10.0 4.7 5.1Refreshment 2,118 7.4 2.9 4.3The first quarter results reflect solid performance in challengingmarket conditions. Despite sluggish economies, weak consumer confidencein many markets and sustained levels of competitive intensity, all ofour Categories grew strongly with a positive contribution from volume.Growth in emerging markets was 11.9% whilst developed markets grew4.2%. We had the benefit of the extra leap year day and an easy prioryear comparator in Europe, in part due to Easter falling earlier thanin 2011. Overall underlying sales growth across the first half of 2012will give a better reflection of the underlying progress of thebusiness than the first three months.Personal CareIn skin cleansing we grew ahead of our markets with Dove reflecting thecontinuing success of Dove Nutrium Moisture shower gels and theroll-out of Dove Men+Care. Lifebuoy also progressed strongly, helped bythe '10 seconds germ-kill' campaign and the introduction of LifebuoyClini-Care10 in India. Radox performed well in the UK, helped by thesuccess of the men's range. The launch of Simple in the US and a strongperformance from Fair & Lovely helped drive growth in face carealthough Pond's had a slow start to the year as we transitioned to thenew Age Miracle and Flawless White ranges. Vaseline performed well,continuing to benefit from the Essential Moisture hand & body rangewhich is now in 14 markets.Hair benefited from the rollout of our brands into new markets andstrong innovation performance. Tresemme growth is being driven by thesuccess of the launch in Brazil and the new split ends range. DoveDamage Therapy continues to perform well and the premium Style and Carestyling range has just been introduced in the United States. Clear isgrowing rapidly across Asia and Latin America, driven by the success ofthe 2011 re-launch. Axe hair is now being rolled out across Europe withgood initial acceptance.Deodorants performed well, driven by our market development activitiesin emerging markets, with Dove growing double digit reflecting successin both the male and female markets. Rexona Maximum Protection is beingrolled out to new markets and Axe Anarchy is performing strongly. Oralgrowth was driven by market development activities and trading upthrough premium innovations, such as the recent introduction of SignalSensitive Expert in France. The recent oral launches into new marketsincluding Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, are progressing well.FoodsGrowth in the savoury category reflected the continued success of theKnorr baking bags and the extension of the jelly bouillon technologyinto gravy. Our Knorr 'Side-Kicks' range is performing well in theUnited States and we have launched Knorr Rice-Mate in the Philippines.Spreads and dressings both grew strongly, driven by price and helped bythe earlier Easter. The new Flora margarine made with cool-blendtechnology is now being rolled out across Europe. Liquid margarineranges are doing well, driven by advertising which demonstrates newuses and the extension into variants designed for use in baking. Thegrowth of the Hellmann's brand continues to be driven by the campaignto encourage new uses of mayonnaise.Home CareRobust laundry growth reflects the ongoing focus on improving thequality of our products, impactful advertising and sustained deliveryfrom our key innovations, such as Omo with built-in pre-treaters. Whitespace launches also contributed with successful launches of Comfortfabric conditioners in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and thePhilippines.Household cleaners benefited from the rapid growth of Sunlight handdishwash products in South Asia and South East Asia, the success of theDomestos Toilet System range and the introductions of Domestos inArgentina, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and of Cif in China.RefreshmentIce cream growth was helped by the successful launches of Magnum inNorth America, Malaysia and the Philippines and the introduction of theMagnum Infinity range in Europe. The earlier seasonal pipeline fill inEurope accompanied a good sell-in for Cornetto Devils & Angels andCornetto Enigma Cookie.Beverages growth was slower. In Brazil we saw weak volumes in soybeverages following recent significant price increases. However, therecently re-launched Lipton brand is performing well in Russia and wehave just started shipments of Lipton Tea & Honey in the United States.OPERATIONAL REVIEW: GEOGRAPHIES First Quarter 2012 Turnover USG UVG UPG(unaudited) EURm % % %Unilever Total 12,144 8.4 3.5 4.7Asia/AMET/RUB 4,823 11.2 5.0 5.9The Americas 4,091 7.9 1.3 6.5Europe 3,230 5.1 4.0 1.0Asia/AMET/RUBStrong growth, ahead of our markets, was driven by good performances inIndonesia, India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. While Thailandrecovered after the floods late in 2011, Japan remained sluggish.Growth rates in Russia improved and the integration of the ConcernKalina acquisition is progressing well. The rollout of the regional SAPplatform continues with countries in Central Africa successfully goinglive at the end of the first quarter.The AmericasNorth America grew by 5.0%. Volume growth was negative, but less sothan our markets. Spreads and dressings grew volumes and whilst icecream benefited from the Magnum launch, we also saw intense competitionin the take-home segment. Personal Care market volumes were flat,however we continued to gain share on the back of our strong marketingprogramme, such as the launch of Simple.Latin America grew by 10.9%, ahead of our markets, with particularlystrong performances from Brazil and Argentina. In Colombia, theintegration of the acquired laundry business is progressing well andthe launch of Tresemme in Brazil has made an excellent start.EuropeThe strong performance in the quarter reflected broad-based growth withgood performances from all the major markets but against a very weakprior year comparator. European markets remain very challenging withlow consumer confidence and intense competition.FINANCIAL POSITIONThere has been no material change to Unilever's financial positionsince the published 2011 Group financial statements.DIVIDENDSThe Boards have declared a quarterly interim dividend for Q1 2012 atthe following rates which are equivalent in value at the rate ofexchange applied under the terms of the Equalisation Agreement betweenthe two companies:Per Unilever N.V. ordinary share: EUR 0.2430Per Unilever PLC ordinary share: GBP 0.1981Per Unilever N.V. New York share: US$ 0.3198Per Unilever PLC American Depositary Receipt: US$ 0.3198The quarterly interim dividends have been determined in euros andconverted into equivalent sterling and US dollar amounts using exchangerates issued by the European Central Bank on 24 April 2012.The quarterly interim dividends will be payable as from 13 June 2012,to shareholders registered at close of business on 11 May 2012. Theshares will go ex-dividend on 9 May 2012.US dollar checks for the quarterly interim dividend will be mailed on12 June 2012 to holders of record at the close of business on 11 May2012. In the case of the NV New York shares, Netherlands withholdingtax will be deducted.The quarterly dividend calendar for the remainder of 2012 will be asfollows: Announcement Ex-Dividend Record Payment Date Date Date DateQuarterly dividend - 26 April 9 May 11 May 13 Junefor Q1 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012Quarterly dividend - 26 July 8 August 10 August 12 Septemberfor Q2 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012Quarterly dividend - 25 October 7 November 9 November 12 Decemberfor Q3 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012CAUTIONARY STATEMENTThis announcement may contain forward-looking statements,including'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the UnitedStatesPrivate Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as'will','aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'believes', 'vision', orthe negative of these terms and other similar expressions of futureperformance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identifysuch forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements arebased upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipateddevelopments and other factors affecting the Group. They are nothistorical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.Because these forward-looking statements involve risks anduncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actualresults to differ materially from those expressed or implied by theseforward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, thematerial or principal factors which could cause actual results todiffer materially are; Unilever's global brands not meeting consumerpreferences; increasing competitive pressures; Unilever's investmentchoices in its portfolio management; finding sustainable solutions tosupport long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment andretention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; thecost of raw materials and commodities; secure and reliable ITinfrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures andbusiness transformation projects; economic and political risks andnational disasters; the sovereign debt crisis in Europe; financialrisks; and failure to meet high product safety and ethical standards;managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details ofpotential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described inthe Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdamand the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group'sAnnual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 and theAnnual Report and Accounts 2011. These forward-looking statements speakonly as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by anyapplicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims anyobligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisionsto any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect anychange in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change inevents, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement isbased.Please follow the link below to view the full text of the announcement; This information is provided by RNS The company news service from the London Stock ExchangeEND

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