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Friday 23 March 2018

Unilever growth hit by hurricanes

The Anglo-Dutch group posted a worse-than-expected 2.6% increase in underlying sales in the third quarter.

Unilever sign
Unilever sign

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Consumer goods giant Unilever has said third quarter sales were hit by hurricanes in the US and poor weather in Europe.

The Anglo-Dutch group, which is behind Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, posted a 2.6% increase in underlying sales for the period to 13.2 billion euro (£11.8 billion), below expectations and down from 3% in the first half of the year.

Chief executive Paul Polman said: “Growth in the third quarter was adversely affected by poorer weather in Europe compared with last year and natural disasters in the Americas.”

However, he also pointed to “signs of improvement” in some of Unilever’s biggest emerging markets, including India and China.

Its emerging markets division booked a 6.3% increase in underlying sales over the quarter, which compares to a 2.3% fall in developed markets.

However, Unilever held its underlying annual sales growth forecast at within the 3% to 5% range.

Unilever, which employs 169,000 people worldwide, announced in April that it would offload some of its best-known brands – including Flora and Stork – after fending off a $143 billion (£115 billion) takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz.

It plans to sell its underperforming spreads business, which could yield up to £6 billion.

Earlier this year, Unilever also struck a 2.27 billion euro (£1.9 billion) deal to buy South Korean cosmetics firm Carver Korea.

It bought the business from Bain Capital Private Equity, Goldman Sachs and the firm’s founder, strengthening its foothold in the Asian beauty market.

Press Association

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