The Motley Fool

Unilever Plc’s Turnover Worse Than Expected As Emerging Markets Disappoint


The shares of Unilever (LSE: ULVR) (NYSE: UL.US) were up following early morning trading by 3.81% to 2529p. This is despite the fast-moving consumer goods company revealing that turnover was down 3% to £41bn, which is worse than the market expected.

Unilever, best known for its diverse portfolio of brands including Dove, Hellmann’s and Surf, confirmed that underlying sales growth was up 4.3% — roughly in line with market expectations.

Internationally, Unilever’s underlying sales growth in emerging markets was 8.7%, which is weaker than the 11% last year. This was attributed to economic uncertainty and currency depreciation on consumer demand.

Chief executive Paul Polman remarked:

“2013 provides further evidence of the progress we are making in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth company. We have delivered another year of consistent underlying sales growth and margin expansion coupled with strong cash flow. This has been achieved despite significant economic headwinds and highly competitive markets and reflects the benefits of strong margin accretive innovations and active cost management.”

Unilever makes four equal quarterly dividend payments a year. The final payment, due in March, was announced as being £0.22. For the full year the payout total is £0.88, which is a 10.7% increase on 2012.

Analysts believe that Unilever should yield 3.77% over the next 12 months. This isn’t an earth-shattering amount, but investors should be confident that this should still be bolstered despite any economic turmoil, due to the company’s strong cash flow.

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> Mark does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Unilever.