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‘Good Progress in Tough Markets’ at Unilever

January 21, 2014

How did this household and personal care giant fare for the year? Find out here.

For fiscal 2013 at Unilever, sales rose 4.3% to €49.8 billion ($67.5 billion) Operating profit rose 8% to €7.5 billion ($10.2 billion) and net profit also increased, at 9% to €5.3 billion ($7.2 billion). Personal care sales climbed 7.3% to €18.1 billion ($24.5 billion) and home care sales increased 8% to €8.9 billion ($12.1 billion).
For the fourth quarter, Unilever saw sales growth at 4.1% to €11.8 billion ($16 billion) with personal care up 7.3% to €4.5 billion ($6.1 billion) and home care rising 6.5% to €2.1 billion ($2.8 billion).
According to Paul Polman, chief executive officer,   “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. Looking forward, we anticipate ongoing volatility in the external environment and are positioning Unilever accordingly.

“Although the investments we have made over the last five years ensure that we are well placed, we are determined to make Unilever even more agile and to fund further growth opportunities by driving out complexity and cost. Once again, we remain focused on delivering profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable
core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow.”
In personal care, hair care growth in the fourth quarter was underpinned by strong performances from global brands  Dove, TRESemmé, Sunsilk and  Clear.  TRESemmé benefited from launches into countries such as India and Indonesia as well as the success of the Keratin Smooth product range. Dove Repair Expertise is now in more than 50 markets,  Toni&Guy was launched into the US and  Lux hair was relaunched in Japan and China with good initial results, said Polman. Skin cleansing growth highlights included  Dove Nutrium Moisture shower gels, including the Purely Pampering range,  Lifebuoy Clini-Care10 coupled with handwashing market development activities and the launch of  Lux Fine Fragrance body wash. In skin care, Vaseline Spray and Go continued to grow strongly and  Dove was driven by the Dove Men+Care face range and the new  Dove facial cleansing range with DEFI technology launched in Japan.  Pond’s BB+ cream made good progress whilst the  Pond’s Men range in Indonesia and Thailand is leading the development of the male segment of the market.
Deodorants grew ahead of the markets supported by the success of the Rexona Do:More campaign and the MotionSense technology now available in both male and female versions.  Axe Apollo established itself as a very successful variant and compressed deodorants have driven growth ahead of the market whilst delivering significant environmental benefits. Oral care saw the continuation of the successful Brush Day and Night campaign, which is now in 15 countries, and successful innovations such as  Pepsodent Germicheck+ and  Zhong Hua Porcelain White.
In home care, laundry growth in the quarter was volume-driven, both in fabric cleaners and fabric conditioners. New concentrated Small & Mighty liquid detergents with an improved formulation and innovative pack are now available in five markets and Omo with a touch of  Comfort Super-Sensorial range has been successfully launched in Vietnam. Fabric conditioners growth has been supported by the continued success of the Aromatherapy range in South East Asia. Household care grew double digits in the quarter helped by white space launches such as Cif and Domestos in Brazil, and the continued strong momentum of the dishwash brands. Innovations such as Cif ultrafast sprays,  Domestos Longer Lasting Germ Kill and Sunlight Power of 100 Lemons all contributed to the growth.
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