SOURCE: Unilever

May 03, 2007 02:05 ET

Unilever announces First Quarter Results 2007

London/ Rotterdam -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2007 --FIRST QUARTER RESULTS 2007

KEY FINANCIALS
(unaudited)

EUR million                                        First Quarter 2007
                                          Current   Current  Constant
                                            rates     rates     rates
Continuing operations:

Turnover                                    9 528       0 %       5 %
Operating profit                            1 302      (8)%      (3)%
Pre-tax profit                              1 332       2 %       5 %
Net profit from continuing operations       1 052       5 %       9 %
Net profit from total operations            1 074       1 %       5 %

EPS from continuing operations (Euros)       0.34       6 %       9 %
EPS from total operations (Euros)            0.35       2 %       5 %


HIGHLIGHTS

Financial Highlights

-    Underlying sales growth of 5.7%, mostly volume.
-    Operating margin of 13.7%, with an improvement of 
     0.4 percentage points before restructuring, disposals and 
     impairments.
-    Earnings per share from continuing operations up 6%, with 
     good results from joint ventures and associates, reduced finance 
     costs and a lower tax rate.
-    Currency movements reduced turnover by 5% and earnings per share 
     by 3%.

Operational Highlights

-    Broad-based sales growth across regions and categories.
-    Better margin development driven by home and personal care.
-    Continuing improvement in Europe with underlying sales growth of
     3.6%.
-    Strong first quarter innovation with bigger launches driving growth 
     in personal care and developing and emerging markets.
-    Continued pace in the implementation of One Unilever and supply chain
     improvement programmes.
GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE COMMENT

We have had a good start to 2007, with broad-based sales growth across regions and categories and improved margin development driven by home and personal care.

Sales benefited from a strong innovation programme, especially in personal care, with several major launches in the quarter. Our European business performed well, aided by a strong start in ice cream, the timing of price increases in some key markets and a favourable comparator. Sales growth has been accompanied by an underlying improvement in our operating margin.

This performance builds on the progress made in 2006 and is further evidence of the breadth and depth of our change programme. Our growth strategy is focusing resources behind clear priorities and delivering bigger, better innovation, faster roll-outs and more effective marketing mixes. New ways of working are transforming our ability to deploy these innovations and to service customers in a more efficient way.

Looking forward, we face a significant headwind from rising agricultural commodity costs which may require further pricing action. I am confident, however, that the combined benefit of organic growth in our 3-5% guidance range and improved efficiency leaves us well placed to achieve our margin objectives for 2007.

The scale of change that has taken place in our business is very significant and is showing through in our results. Nevertheless we continue to look for opportunities to speed up the development of our portfolio through acquisitions and disposals and to accelerate margin improvement towards world class benchmarks.

Patrick Cescau, Group Chief Executive 3 May 2007

ENQUIRIES

Media: Media Relations Team
UK +44 20 7822 6805 tim.johns@unilever.com
NL +31 10 217 4844                        
tanno.massar@unilever.com

Investors: Investor Relations team
UK +44 20 7822 6830  investor.relations@unilever.com
US +1 201 894 2615 investor.relations-NewYork@unilever.com


There will be a web cast of the results presentation available at: www.unilever.com/ourcompany/investorcentre/results/quarterlyresults/default.asp

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