Jul 20, 2017

Higher prices in emerging markets boost Unilever

The company behind Dove soap and Persil detergent in April set a target of raising its underlying profit margin to 20 per cent by 2020 from 16 per cent, helped by €6bn of savings. Pre-tax profits rose by 27 per cent to €4.6bn in the six months to June 30, and by 24 per cent at constant exchange rates. Once again, the rise in sales was driven entirely by higher prices in emerging markets - where Unilever makes 57 per cent of its sales. Volumes overall were flat and were 0.4 per cent lower in developed markets, especially Europe, where "Consumer demand remained weak and the retail environment challenging". They are 22 per cent higher than 12 months ago, having risen strongly after the aborted Kraft Heinz bid and the promises of higher profitability that followed.

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