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Unilever looks up despite India's weak performance

Parent reports strong growth for the full-year as well as fourth quarter ended December 2012

Read more on:    Unilever | Weak Performance | Emerging Markets
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Anglo-Dutch major reported a 7% and 10% rise in net profit and sales respectively for the full year ended December 2012 at a time when its Indian subsidiary has been struggling thanks to a slowdown in discretionary spends.

Turnover of Unilever stood at 51.3 billion euros (or $68.23 billion), while net profit was 4.9 billion euros (or $6.52 billion) for the full-year ended 2012.

Underlying sales growth for Unilever was nearly 7% during the year driven by growth across categories such as personal care, home care, ice-creams and beverages. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Unilever's underlying sales growth was nearly 8%, with overall sales pegged at 12.6 billion euros (or nearly $17 billion).

continued to be a key driver for the company, with underlying sales growth in double-digits at 11.4% during the year. Emerging markets now contribute about 55% to Unilever's turnover - up from 52-53% earlier.

Operating profit rose nine% to 7 billion euros (or $9.31 billion), while operating margins rose 30 basis points to 13.8%, with gross margins increasing by 10 basis points during the year. Advertising and sales promotion expenditure were up 470 million euros (or $625 million) during the year at constant exchange rates.

Paul Polman, chief executive officer, Unilever said, "We continue to make good progress in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth company. However, there is no room for complacency: markets will remain challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs. We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flows."

Unilever derives bulk of its revenues from personal care and foods, with the balance coming from home care and refreshments such as ice-creams and beverages. For 2012, personal care turned in revenues of 18.1 billion euros (or $24.1 billion), while foods did sales of 14.4 billion euros (or $19.2 billion). Refreshments came next at 9.7 billion euros (or $12.9 billion), while foods achieved revenues of 9.1 billion euros  (or $12.1 billion) during the year.

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