Home » News » FTSE 100 » Unilever Plc Growth accelerated in the third quarter

Unilever Plc Growth accelerated in the third quarter

Unilever Plc (LON:ULVR), today announced 3rd quart trading update 2018.

Performance Highlights

Underlying performance

GAAP measures

vs 2017

vs 2017

Third quarter

Underlying sales growth (USG)(a)

3.8%

Turnover(b)

€12.5bn

(4.8)%

Nine months

USG(a)

2.9%

Turnover(b)

€38.7bn

(5.3)%

USG excluding spreads(a)

3.1%

Turnover excluding spreads(b)

€37.3bn

(3.6)%

Quarterly dividend payable in December 2018                                                               €0.3872 per share

(a)     These amounts do not include price growth in Venezuela and do not include price growth in Argentina from 1 July 2018 onwards. See pages 5 – 7 for further details.

(b)    IAS29 ‘Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies’ has been adopted in Argentina and accordingly turnover previously reported has been restated.

Third quarter highlights

· Underlying sales growth 3.8% with volume 2.4% and price 1.4%

· Price growth in Argentina is excluded from Q3 USG due to hyperinflationary status. Reported growth would otherwise have been 4.5%

· Growth was high quality with an improvement in all three Divisions and strong volume growth in Asia AMET RUB

· Turnover was impacted by an adverse translational currency impact of 5.2%

· The net impact of acquisitions and disposals, which included the spreads disposal, reduced turnover by 3.3%

Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer of Unilever statement

“Growth accelerated in the third quarter across all Divisions. We were able to increase prices whilst still maintaining good volume growth which reflects the strength of our brands and quality of our innovation programme. Our focus s building our business for the long-term continues to deliver high quality growth.

We are progressively reaping the benefits of our Connected for Growth programme, which is now well embedded throughout the organisation, making us simpler, faster and better connected with our consumers. It is helping us accelerate growth in Asia AMET RUB, manage through the economic volatility in Latin America and shift our portfolio into faster growing segments and channels in all of our markets. Our innovation pipeline continues to strengthen and in the third quarter alone we have launched four new brands. We have now successfully completed the disposal of our spreads business and continue the acceleration of our efficiency programmes.

We continue to expect underlying sales growth in the 3% – 5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin and strong cash flow. We remain on track for our 2020 goals.”

THIRD QUARTER OPERATIONAL REVIEW: DIVISIONS

Third Quarter 2018

Nine Months 2018

(unaudited)

Turnover

USG*

UVG

UPG*

Turnover

USG*

UVG

UPG*

€bn

%

%

%

€bn

%

%

%

 Unilever

12.5

3.8

2.4

1.4

38.7

2.9

2.3

0.6

 Beauty & Personal Care

5.2

4.0

2.8

1.2

15.2

3.1

2.9

0.2

 Home Care

2.5

4.5

1.5

3.0

7.5

3.9

2.6

1.2

 Foods & Refreshment

4.8

3.2

2.5

0.7

16.0

2.2

1.6

0.6

* Wherever referenced in this announcement, USG and UPG do not include price growth in Venezuela and do not include price growth in Argentina from 1 July 2018 onwards. See pages 5 – 7 for further details.

As previously announced the disposals of our spreads businesses were completed on 2 July 2018. The table below provides information on the first nine months of 2018 performance excluding sales related to spreads.

Nine Months 2018

(unaudited)

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

€bn

%

%

%

Unilever excluding spreads

37.3

3.1

2.5

0.6

Foods & Refreshment excluding spreads

14.6

2.7

2.0

0.6

 

Our markets: In the markets in which we operate growth improved slightly with a higher contribution from price as a result of rising commodity costs in local currencies, particularly in emerging markets. There has been significant devaluation in Argentina and the economy is now considered to be hyperinflationary, so price growth from Argentina is excluded from underlying sales growth from 1 July 2018 onwards.

Unilever overall performance: In the third quarter, underlying sales growth increased to 3.8% with growth accelerating across all three Divisions. Price growth picked up as expected, and volume remained strong reflecting the strength of our brands and our accelerated innovation programme. Underlying sales in emerging markets grew by 5.6% led by competitive growth in Asia AMET RUB. Growth in Latin America was adversely impacted by significant volume decline in Argentina, whilst price growth, which would have contributed 70bps to total Unilever, has been excluded from USG. Brazil recovered after the truckers’ strike that severely affected sales in second quarter. Turnover decreased 4.8% to €12.5 billion, which included an adverse currency impact of (5.2)% and (3.3)% from acquisitions and disposals mainly driven by the disposal of spreads.

Beauty & Personal Care

Beauty & Personal Care underlying sales growth of 4.0% was helped by improved price growth. Skin care continued with strong growth momentum, helped by innovations including Citra’s new naturals range. Ponds launched new premium formats such as a cleansing balm to remove make-up and moisturise. Skin cleansing performed well driven by the continued success of premium formats including the launch of foaming shower gels. In deodorants, price returned to growth and volumes were helped by purpose-led campaigns on Dove Men+Care and Rexona. In hair care, whilst promotional intensity remained high, Dove had a good quarter driven by the roll-out of a new naturals range and the launch of ‘super’ conditioners to reduce hair damage in just one minute. In oral care, sales were slightly down as market conditions remained challenging in France, Indonesia and Brazil. Growth in prestige accelerated with double-digit growth in Hourglass, Kate Sommerville, Living Proof and REN. Love, Beauty & Planet, the largest of our new brand launches, was extended into deodorants and skin care this quarter and the new brand K-Bright was launched in South East Asia to address the fast-growing Korean beauty trend.

Home Care

Home Care underlying sales growth in the quarter was 4.5%. Growth was broad-based, helped by stronger pricing and the recovery from the truckers’ strike in Brazil. Home and hygiene performed well driven by good performances from Cif premium sprays and Sunlight, which was relaunched with more natural ingredients. In fabric solutions, growth was driven by strong performance of liquids in emerging markets, including the continued success of Surf Excel Matics in India and we also launched a new brand Day 2, an innovative dry wash spray. Growth in fabric sensations was led by continued momentum in key markets India and China, the launch of Comfort into Germany and innovations such as Comfort Perfume Deluxe in South East Asia and the UK.

Foods & Refreshment

Foods & Refreshment underlying sales growth in the quarter improved to 3.2%. Ice cream delivered strong growth led by innovations including the new Kinder® ice cream and the new Magnum Praline variant. In tea, our emerging markets growth was driven by good performance on our core brands like Brooke Bond in India. In developed markets black tea continues to be challenging however the transformation of our portfolio is ongoing helped by our acquisitions Tazo and Pukka and innovations like our organic Lipton range. Growth in foods was driven by cooking products and our food service business which caters to professional chefs. Knorr continued to modernise the portfolio with more ‘organic and natural’ innovations including a new ‘soup in glass’ range, while our snacking brands Red Red, Prepco and Mae Terra performed well. In dressings, Hellmann’s was helped by a campaign to activate its purpose to ‘fight food waste’ but growth was held back by continued promotional intensity in the US. Sir Kensington performed well and we launched Del Huerto, a new tier three dressings brand in Colombia.

THIRD QUARTER OPERATIONAL REVIEW: GEOGRAPHICAL AREA

Third Quarter 2018

Nine Months 2018

(unaudited)

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

€bn

%

%

%

€bn

%

%

%

Unilever

12.5

3.8

2.4

1.4

38.7

2.9

2.3

0.6

Asia/AMET/RUB

5.6

6.6

4.3

2.2

17.3

6.3

4.8

1.4

The Americas

3.9

1.7

0.2

1.5

11.9

          –

(0.2)

0.3

Europe

3.0

1.4

1.9

(0.4)

9.5

0.6

1.1

(0.5)

 

 

Third Quarter 2018

Nine Months 2018

(unaudited)

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

€bn

%

%

%

€bn

%

%

%

Emerging markets

7.2

5.6

3.4

2.1

22.3

4.6

3.3

1.2

Developed markets

5.3

1.3

1.0

0.2

16.4

0.5

0.9

(0.3)

North America

2.2

1.9

0.3

1.5

6.8

1.1

0.8

0.3

Latin America

1.7

1.5

0.1

1.4

5.1

(1.2)

(1.4)

0.2

 

The table below provides information on the first nine months of 2018 performance excluding sales related to spreads.

Nine Months 2018

(unaudited)

Turnover

USG

UVG

UPG

€bn

%

%

%

Developed markets excluding spreads

15.4

0.7

1.1

(0.3)

Europe excluding spreads

8.8

0.9

1.4

(0.5)

North America excluding spreads

6.6

1.3

0.9

0.4

 

Asia/AMET/RUB

Underlying sales growth was 6.6%, with 4.3% from volume. Underlying price growth picked up to 2.2% reflecting higher commodity inflation. In India where we are one year on from the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax we continue to deliver strong volume growth, while Turkey achieved double-digit growth that was balanced between volume and price. After a softer first half performance, sales growth in Indonesia, South Africa and Russia improved. In China most categories grew well with the exception of our air purification business, Blueair, which declined.

The Americas

In North America, underlying sales growth improved to 1.9%, driven by a pick up in price growth. Beauty & Personal Care was helped by strong performance of our new brands and acquisitions while foods was held back by continued promotional intensity in dressings.

In Latin America underlying sales growth was 1.5%. Sales in Brazil were up 10% helped by both a recovery from the truckers’ strike in the second quarter and a return to positive price growth. In Argentina price growth accelerated to 34% in the third quarter and this put pressure on our volumes, which declined double digit. This negative volume growth in Argentina adversely impacted group UVG by 30bps in the quarter. Group underlying price growth would have been 70bps higher if price growth from Argentina had been included.

Europe

Europe grew modestly in the quarter, mainly driven by strong ice cream sales that were helped by both innovations and good weather in Northern Europe. Germany and the Netherlands performed well, and we saw continued strong momentum in Central & Eastern Europe. In the United Kingdom, good ice cream growth was partly offset by increased competitive pressures in fabric solutions. France was flat, while Italy declined in the quarter.

COMPETITION INVESTIGATIONS

As previously disclosed, along with other consumer products companies and retail customers, Unilever is involved in a number of ongoing investigations by national competition authorities, including those within Italy and South Africa. These proceedings and investigations are at various stages and concern a variety of product markets. Where appropriate, provisions are made and contingent liabilities disclosed in relation to such matters.

Ongoing compliance with competition laws is of key importance to Unilever. It is Unilever’s policy to co-operate fully with competition authorities whenever questions or issues arise. In addition, the Group continues to reinforce and enhance its internal competition law training and compliance programme on an ongoing basis.

DIVIDENDS

The Boards have determined to pay a quarterly interim dividend for Q3 2018 at the following rates which are equivalent in value between the two companies at the rate of exchange applied under the terms of the Equalisation Agreement:

Per Unilever N.V. ordinary share:                                   € 0.3872

Per Unilever PLC ordinary share:                                   £ 0.3393

Per Unilever N.V. New York share:                                 US$ 0.4487

Per Unilever PLC American Depositary Receipt:            US$ 0.4487

The quarterly interim dividends have been determined in euros and converted into equivalent sterling and US dollar amounts using exchange rates issued by WM/Reuters on 16 October 2018.

US dollar cheques for the quarterly interim dividend will be mailed on 5 December 2018 to holders of record at the close of business on 2 November 2018. In the case of the NV New York shares, Netherlands withholding tax will be deducted.

The quarterly dividend calendar for the remainder of 2018 will be as follows:

Announcement Date

Ex-Dividend Date

Record Date

Payment Date

Quarterly dividend – for Q3 2018

18 October 2018

1 November 2018

2 November 2018

5 December 2018