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Unilever reiterates guidance after solid first quarter

By Benjamin Chiou

Date: Thursday 25 Apr 2024

Unilever reiterates guidance after solid first quarter

(Sharecast News) - Consumer products giant Unilever maintained its full-year guidance after a solid first quarter, which saw all five business divisions contributing to underlying sales growth.
Turnover was up 1.4% at €15bn in the first three months of the year, with underlying sales rising 4.4%, as strong growth in the Beauty & Wellbeing (+7.4%) and Personal Care (+4.8%) made up for a more subdued showing in Home Care (+3.1%), Nutrition (+3.7%) and Ice Cream (+2.3%).

Unilever's so-called core Power Brand, which account for three quarters of turnover, delivered underlying sales growth of 6.1% for the quarter, with strong performances from Dove, Knorr, Rexona and Sunsilk.

"We are implementing the Growth Action Plan at speed, focused on three clear priorities: delivering higher-quality growth, creating a simpler and more productive business, and embedding a strong performance focus," said chief executive Hein Schumacher. "This is underpinned by our commitment to do fewer things, better and with greater impact."

Unilever, which last month announced plans to separate the ice cream business which includes Magnum, Wall's and Ben & Jerry's, is said to be struggling to find a buyer for the division valued at £15bn, according to reports last week. It is thought that the company could have to retain a stake in the business to bring the price down due to the significant size of operations.

"Unilever's transformation is at an early stage, but we have increasing confidence in our ability to deliver sustained volume growth and positive mix as we accelerate gross margin expansion," Schumacher said.

The company kept hold on its multi-year guidance to deliver underlying sales growth of 3% to 5%, with a modest improvement in underlying operating margins.

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