SOURCE: Unilever PLC

April 26, 2012 02:08 ET

Unilever PLC announces 1st Quarter Results

LONDON--(Marketwire - Apr 26, 2012) -



First quarter highlights

- Turnover increased by 11.9% to EUR12.1 billion

- Underlying sales growth 8.4% with emerging markets up 11.9% and
  developed markets up 4.2%; all categories contributing to growth

- Underlying volume growth 3.5%, pricing up 4.7%

- Acquisitions net of disposals contributed 2.7% to turnover;
  Alberto Culver brands performing well and Concern Kalina
  integration on track

- Quarterly dividend up 8% to EUR 0.243

Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer statement"We have made a good start to
the year which underlines the progress
that we have made in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth
company. We have grown ahead of our markets with all Categories
delivering positive volume growth. Emerging markets, now 56% of the
business, have again delivered strong growth and whilst the good
performance in developed markets was against a weak prior year
comparator, our performance is pleasing given struggling economies,
continued fragile consumer confidence and competitor activity.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is at the heart of our strategy.
Increasingly, sustainable growth will be the only acceptable way of
doing business. Our future success depends upon being able to decouple
growth from our environmental footprint while at the same time
increasing our positive social impacts. We are now seeing increasing
evidence that this can drive business growth. For example, Lifebuoy is
growing consistently as we roll out our hand washing programmes, enter
new markets and launch new products such as Lifebuoy Clini-Care10,
which delivers breakthrough technology for germ protection and superior
skin care.

The external macro-economic environment remains difficult and higher
input cost headwinds persist. We continue to implement our strategy
with discipline and to manage our brands for the long term health of
the business. Our long term priorities remain unchanged - profitable
volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core
operating margin improvement and strong cash flow. For 2012, we remain
on track to deliver a modest improvement in full year core operating
margin, weighted towards the second half of the year."

26 April 2012


                                         First Quarter 2012
                            Turnover       USG        UVG       UPG
        (unaudited)           EURm          %           %        %
Unilever Total              12,144         8.4         3.5      4.7
Personal Care                4,260        10.4         6.1      4.0
Foods                        3,568         5.9         0.4      5.5
Home Care                    2,198        10.0         4.7      5.1
Refreshment                  2,118         7.4         2.9      4.3

The first quarter results reflect solid performance in challenging
market conditions. Despite sluggish economies, weak consumer confidence
in many markets and sustained levels of competitive intensity, all of
our Categories grew strongly with a positive contribution from volume.

Growth in emerging markets was 11.9% whilst developed markets grew
4.2%. We had the benefit of the extra leap year day and an easy prior
year comparator in Europe, in part due to Easter falling earlier than
in 2011. Overall underlying sales growth across the first half of 2012
will give a better reflection of the underlying progress of the
business than the first three months.

Personal Care

In skin cleansing we grew ahead of our markets with Dove reflecting the
continuing success of Dove Nutrium Moisture shower gels and the
roll-out of Dove Men+Care. Lifebuoy also progressed strongly, helped by
the '10 seconds germ-kill' campaign and the introduction of Lifebuoy
Clini-Care10 in India. Radox performed well in the UK, helped by the
success of the men's range. The launch of Simple in the US and a strong
performance from Fair & Lovely helped drive growth in face care
although Pond's had a slow start to the year as we transitioned to the
new Age Miracle and Flawless White ranges. Vaseline performed well,
continuing to benefit from the Essential Moisture hand & body range
which is now in 14 markets.

Hair benefited from the rollout of our brands into new markets and
strong innovation performance. Tresemme growth is being driven by the
success of the launch in Brazil and the new split ends range. Dove
Damage Therapy continues to perform well and the premium Style and Care
styling range has just been introduced in the United States. Clear is
growing rapidly across Asia and Latin America, driven by the success of
the 2011 re-launch. Axe hair is now being rolled out across Europe with
good initial acceptance.

Deodorants performed well, driven by our market development activities
in emerging markets, with Dove growing double digit reflecting success
in both the male and female markets. Rexona Maximum Protection is being
rolled out to new markets and Axe Anarchy is performing strongly. Oral
growth was driven by market development activities and trading up
through premium innovations, such as the recent introduction of Signal
Sensitive Expert in France. The recent oral launches into new markets
including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, are progressing well.


Growth in the savoury category reflected the continued success of the
Knorr baking bags and the extension of the jelly bouillon technology
into gravy. Our Knorr 'Side-Kicks' range is performing well in the
United States and we have launched Knorr Rice-Mate in the Philippines.

Spreads and dressings both grew strongly, driven by price and helped by
the earlier Easter. The new Flora margarine made with cool-blend
technology is now being rolled out across Europe. Liquid margarine
ranges are doing well, driven by advertising which demonstrates new
uses and the extension into variants designed for use in baking. The
growth of the Hellmann's brand continues to be driven by the campaign
to encourage new uses of mayonnaise.

Home Care

Robust laundry growth reflects the ongoing focus on improving the
quality of our products, impactful advertising and sustained delivery
from our key innovations, such as Omo with built-in pre-treaters. White
space launches also contributed with successful launches of Comfort
fabric conditioners in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the

Household cleaners benefited from the rapid growth of Sunlight hand
dishwash products in South Asia and South East Asia, the success of the
Domestos Toilet System range and the introductions of Domestos in
Argentina, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and of Cif in China.


Ice cream growth was helped by the successful launches of Magnum in
North America, Malaysia and the Philippines and the introduction of the
Magnum Infinity range in Europe. The earlier seasonal pipeline fill in
Europe accompanied a good sell-in for Cornetto Devils & Angels and
Cornetto Enigma Cookie.

Beverages growth was slower. In Brazil we saw weak volumes in soy
beverages following recent significant price increases. However, the
recently re-launched Lipton brand is performing well in Russia and we
have just started shipments of Lipton Tea & Honey in the United States.


                First Quarter 2012

               Turnover     USG     UVG    UPG

(unaudited)      EURm          %       %     %

Unilever Total 12,144        8.4     3.5   4.7

Asia/AMET/RUB   4,823       11.2     5.0   5.9

The Americas    4,091        7.9     1.3   6.5

Europe          3,230        5.1     4.0   1.0


Strong growth, ahead of our markets, was driven by good performances in
Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. While Thailand
recovered after the floods late in 2011, Japan remained sluggish.
Growth rates in Russia improved and the integration of the Concern
Kalina acquisition is progressing well. The rollout of the regional SAP
platform continues with countries in Central Africa successfully going
live at the end of the first quarter.

The Americas

North America grew by 5.0%. Volume growth was negative, but less so
than our markets. Spreads and dressings grew volumes and whilst ice
cream benefited from the Magnum launch, we also saw intense competition
in the take-home segment. Personal Care market volumes were flat,
however we continued to gain share on the back of our strong marketing
programme, such as the launch of Simple.

Latin America grew by 10.9%, ahead of our markets, with particularly
strong performances from Brazil and Argentina. In Colombia, the
integration of the acquired laundry business is progressing well and
the launch of Tresemme in Brazil has made an excellent start.


The strong performance in the quarter reflected broad-based growth with
good performances from all the major markets but against a very weak
prior year comparator. European markets remain very challenging with
low consumer confidence and intense competition.


There has been no material change to Unilever's financial position
since the published 2011 Group financial statements.


The Boards have declared a quarterly interim dividend for Q1 2012 at
the following rates which are equivalent in value at the rate of
exchange applied under the terms of the Equalisation Agreement between
the two companies:

Per Unilever N.V. ordinary share:              EUR 0.2430

Per Unilever PLC ordinary share:               GBP 0.1981

Per Unilever N.V. New York share:              US$ 0.3198

Per Unilever PLC American Depositary Receipt:  US$ 0.3198

The quarterly interim dividends have been determined in euros and
converted into equivalent sterling and US dollar amounts using exchange
rates issued by the European Central Bank on 24 April 2012.

The quarterly interim dividends will be payable as from 13 June 2012,
to shareholders registered at close of business on 11 May 2012. The
shares will go ex-dividend on 9 May 2012.

US dollar checks for the quarterly interim dividend will be mailed on
12 June 2012 to holders of record at the close of business on 11 May
2012. In the case of the NV New York shares, Netherlands withholding
tax will be deducted.

The quarterly dividend calendar for the remainder of 2012 will be as

                       Announcement  Ex-Dividend  Record     Payment
                          Date         Date        Date       Date

Quarterly dividend -   26 April      9 May      11 May      13 June
for Q1 2012               2012         2012        2012        2012

Quarterly dividend -   26 July       8 August   10 August   12 September
for Q2 2012               2012         2012        2012        2012

Quarterly dividend -   25 October    7 November  9 November 12 December
for Q3 2012               2012         2012        2012        2012


This announcement may contain forward-looking statements,
including'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as
'will','aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'believes', 'vision', or
the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future
performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify
such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are
based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated
developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not
historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and
uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these
forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the
material or principal factors which could cause actual results to
differ materially are; Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer
preferences; increasing competitive pressures; Unilever's investment
choices in its portfolio management; finding sustainable solutions to
support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and
retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the
cost of raw materials and commodities; secure and reliable IT
infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and
business transformation projects; economic and political risks and
national disasters; the sovereign debt crisis in Europe; financial
risks; and failure to meet high product safety and ethical standards;
managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of
potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in
the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam
and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's
Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 and the
Annual Report and Accounts 2011. These forward-looking statements speak
only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any
applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any
obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions
to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any
change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in
events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is

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