Unilever plc announced its first half of 2015 results, with turnover up 12% to €27.0 billion ($US43bn) including a positive currency impact of 10%, underlying sales growth at 2.9% and emerging markets 6.0%, and added more premium ice cream flavours that’s sure to be welcomed by the convenience market.
Unilever said that underlying sales growth in the first half was broad-based across its four categories that included Prestige Personal Care. While growth in Refreshment was due to price, volumes drove the performance in Home Care and Foods. Emerging markets grew by 6.0% with an increased contribution from volume.
Commenting on the results, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “The first half demonstrates again the progress we have made in the transformation of Unilever to deliver consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth, now in the seventh year.”
In Foods, Savoury showed broad-based growth helped by the success of cooking products in emerging markets and soups in Europe. The new Baking, Cooking & Spreads unit, launched on 1 July, repositions the business to more attractive segments like mélanges and premium cooking oil blends.
Refreshment grew solidly in value with underlying sales growth of 2.7% for the half, despite volumes being slightly down against a strong prior year.
“We upgraded the mix in ice cream with innovations behind the premium brands, such as Magnum Pink and Black variants, Ben & Jerry’s Cores range and the new flavours of Breyer’s Gelato,” Unilever said. In leaf tea, the Lipton brand was refreshed with new packaging.
Personal Care growth, driven by volume and price, had the strongest first half underlying sales growth at 3.0%. The Dove Advanced Hair Series is becoming well established globally, most recently in Asia.
Home Care delivered broad-based growth led by innovations in higher margin segments such as machine specialist detergents and fabric conditioners.