SOURCE: Unilever

February 04, 2010 02:00 ET

Unilever PLC Announces Final Results

LONDON and ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS--(Marketwire - February 4, 2010) -


2009 FULL YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS

STRONG GROWTH MOMENTUM DESPITE A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT



Full year Highlights

* Underlying Sales Growth 3.5%. Underlying volume growth at 2.3%
accelerated through the year, reaching 5.0% in the fourth quarter. The
increase in volume growth was achieved in most of our key categories
and countries and translated into improved share performance in all
regions as the year progressed.

* Operating margin before RDIs up 20bps. Advertising and
promotional expenditure increased by 80bps. Margin development was
underpinned by volume efficiencies and savings of EUR1.4 billion from
lower supply chain costs and a leaner organisational structure.

* Cashflow from operating activities up by EUR1.4 billion driven
by significant improvement in working capital, and after a EUR0.5
billion increase in cash contributions to pension funds.



Fourth Quarter highlights

* Underlying Sales Growth 1.8% with positive volume growth of 5%,
widespread across countries and categories. Underlying price growth of
-3.1% reflects the fall in commodity costs after the spike in 2008.

* Operating margin before RDIs up 100bps.Advertising and
promotional expenditure up by 240bps.

* Operating profit in the fourth quarter 2008 included profits on
disposals of EUR611 million pre-tax.

* Strong cash delivery sustained in the fourth quarter.



Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer: "We made good progress in
challenging market conditions. Our market share improvements were
broad-based and improved throughout the year. Our brands are stronger,
driven by better quality innovation and a step-change in advertising
and promotional expenditure. We have further strengthened our leading
positions in developing and emerging markets and made encouraging
progress in re-establishing volume growth in Western Europe. The
organisation is moving fast towards a stronger performance culture. We
are faster and more agile and focused on serving over 2 billion
consumers every day.



We expect continued pressure on consumer spending power and heightened
levels of competitive activity in 2010. We will continue to focus on
volume growth as the main driver of long term value creation, whilst
delivering steady and sustainable year-on-year improvement in operating
margin and strong cashflow."


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