Jul 19, 2018

Opening Quote: Unilever — Brazil vs Netherlands

Shares in Unilever fell 4 per cent, with some blaming the fed-up truckers and others the tracker funds that would become forced sellers of their holdings. Back in June, finance director Graeme Pitkethly revealed a transport strike had led to €150m of lost sales in just 11 days in Brazil, where Unilever makes 6.5 per cent of revenues. Overall emerging market sales grew by 4.1 per cent with sales volumes improving to contribute 3.3 per cent of that. In total turnover in the half decreased 5 per cent to €26.4bn after allowing for an adverse currency impact of -8.9 per cent and a 1.9 per cent boost from acquisitions net of disposals. Having built up a large stake in fellow retailer Debenhams, a collapse in the struggling department store's share prices reduced Sports Direct's pre-tax profit by 73 per cent - to just £28m. Performance in its core sportswear business was strong, with underlying earnings up 58 per cent to £105m. But the decision of majority shareholder and boss Mike Ashley to buy into Debenhams resulted in a £85m hit.

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