Apr 19, 2018

Unilever showers cash on investors

Anglo-Dutch consumer group Unilever has promised to buy back €6bn of shares from investors next month and revealed quarterly sales figures that highlight pressure on prices in key markets. Underlying sales were up 3.4 per cent, in line with expectations, but this was almost entirely because Unilever sold more products. Pinar Ergun, an analyst at UBS, said: "We expect investors to welcome Unilever's volume growth and the buyback announcement," but added there was a "Notable deceleration in pricing". Though Unilever held to its full-year target of 3 to 5 per cent underlying sales growth, Mr Pitkethly said the target would be "Stretching" and he was also cautious about the second quarter. Unilever shares were 2 per cent lower in London morning trading, against a backdrop of investor worries that large consumer companies are finding it harder to charge higher prices because of supermarket and online price wars and growing competition from smaller brands.

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