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Unilever Release 3Q11 Trading Statement

  • LONDON—Unilever released its trading statement for third quarter 2011 (3Q11), reporting strong growth across the personal care category.

Third quarter highlights include:

  • Turnover €12.1 billion driven by underlying sales growth ahead of the market at 7.8 percent, with price up 5.8 percent and volume growth of 1.9 percent. Negative currency impact of 4.8 percent.
  • Major SAP upgrade in North America brought sales forward into Q3 from Q4.
  • Strongly positive contribution to turnover growth from M&A at 2.2 percent; integration of the Sara Lee body care and Alberto Culver businesses largely complete.
  • Emerging markets up 13.1 percent
  • Strong growth across all categories, in particular Personal Care at 11.3 percent.

Nine Months turnover highlights include:

  • Turnover €34.9 billion with underlying sales growth ahead of the market at 6.5 percent, with price up 4.3 percent and volume growth of 2.1 percent; growth in all categories and regions. Negative currency impact of 2.7 percent.
  • Growth powered by emerging markets up 11.2 percent, which now represent 53 percent of turnover.

“I am pleased to report another good quarterly performance, with particularly strong growth in Personal Care and the emerging markets, reinforcing our position as the emerging markets consumer goods company," said Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman. “The integration of Sara Lee and Alberto Culver has progressed well and we are beginning to leverage some of these brands into new markets; for example TRESemmé is already being launched in Brazil. In addition, the recently announced acquisition of Concern Kalina, the leading local Personal Care company in Russia, will significantly strengthen our business in this important market.

“These results are especially encouraging against the backdrop of very uncertain consumer demand, hugely volatile commodity markets, natural disasters and geo-political uncertainty in many parts of the world. Even more so given we have taken pricing earlier than competition.

“In this context it is more important than ever that we prioritize investment in our brands, our products and the supporting systems and infrastructure. Importantly in 2011, we have sought to mitigate the impact of commodity inflation on consumers by pricing to recover cost rather than to maintain margin. As a result of these factors we now expect underlying operating margin in 2011 to be flat to slightly down. Our long-term priorities remain: to deliver profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable underlying operating margin improvement and strong cash flow."

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