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Unilever announced its results for the first quarter of 2019

First quarter results show solid growth led by emerging markets

Today, Unilever announced its results for the first quarter of 2019, which show underlying sales growth of 3.1%, led by our emerging market business which grew 5.0%.

Today, Unilever announced its results for the first quarter of 2019, which show underlying sales growth of 3.1%, led by emerging market business which grew 5.0%. The company estimates that the markets in which it operates are growing around 3%. The emerging markets improved slightly compared with the fourth quarter led by South East Asia and Brazil. In India markets grew well albeit slightly slower than the fourth quarter. High inflation weighed on global market volume growth. Growth remains weak in the developed markets. Underlying sales growth was 3.1%, led by emerging market business which grew 5.0%. Growth was balanced between volume and price and the pick-up in volume, compared to the fourth quarter, was helped by sustained momentum in South East Asia and North Asia. Price growth from Argentina, which would have added 80bps to reported USG, was excluded due to its hyperinflationary status whilst the volume decline reduced group underlying sales growth by 10bps. Turnover decreased 1.6% to €12.4 billion, driven by the disposal of spreads which we completed in July 2018. Underlying sales in the Foods & Refreshment division grew 1.5%. Ice cream had a strong start to the year, whilst sales in tea and savoury were flat. Dressings, which was impacted by continued high promotional intensity and the later timing of Easter, declined. "Our actions to modernise our portfolio to meet the trends towards authentic, organic and natural, healthy and on-the-go products are working, with good performance on bouillons and snack pots and encouraging early performance of a new range of Knorr protein and fibre rich soups in Turkey", the company announced. Hellmann’s continued to be held back by promotional intensity particularly in the US. Challenges in developed market black tea offset good growth from Pukka, the new organic Lipton range and green tea in India. Innovation continued to drive strong performance in ice cream helped by the roll out of the Kinder range across Europe, while Magnum was helped by innovations such as a new white chocolate & cookie variant. Sir Kensington’s, Pukka and Weis were all up double-digits, helped by distribution gains.


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