Ticker ULVR

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As of 23:54 16 Sep 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
56,654.48 million
As of 23:54 16 Sep 2019

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Unilever profits


Unilever - maker of Dove soap, Marmite and Ben & Jerry's ice cream - has published results showing operating profit was €4.5bn in the first half of the year, little changed on a year earlier,

Chief executive Alan Jope said: "We have delivered consistent growth within our guided range for 2019, led by our emerging markets. Accelerating growth remains our top priority and we continue to evolve our portfolio and seek out fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations.

"For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year 3-5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow."

Unilever shares up

Omo detergent on sale in Tawian
Getty Images

Shares in Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever are up 1.6% after positive first quarter results this morning.

The firm reported particularly strong sales in emerging markets.

And we're spending more on home care it says, including a segment called "fabric solutions".

The FTSE 100 is now 0.17% lower at 7,458.30.

The FTSE 250 is down 0.22%, at 19,815.21.

Tasty sales growth

Jar of Marmite and toast

Consumer goods giant Unilever, maker of Ben and Jerry's, Dove soap and of course breakfast favourite, Marmite, has reported respectable sales growth of 3.1% for the first quarter.

However turnover is 1.6% lower after it disposed of its spreads business - I can't believe it's not butter, Flora et al - to private equity firm KKR in December 2017.

The firm's boss Alan Jope said they were on track for the full year with sales growth at around the same rate as this quarter.

Accelerating growth would require "a continued strategic shift into faster growth segments and channels," he said.

Global UK-based companies will be 'unscathed' by Brexit

BBC Radio 5 Live

Wake Up To Money

James Bevan
James Bevan

James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA Investment Management, told Wake Up To Money that markets have "now determined that the pound is more vulnerable" after yesterday's Brexit news.

"There is still real uncertainty over what lies ahead," he warned. "So no-one is prepared to commit any real money to trades so there's not a huge amount of money moving in the markets."

He predicted that global class companies operating out of the UK will come out of the Brexit process relatively unscathed.

"The likes of Diageo and Unilever look well-placed whatever the outcome."

'Transformational deal'

Anthony Fletcher

Graze chief executive Anthony Fletcher (above) says the sale to Unilever is "a transformational moment" in the snacks company's "growth journey".

There's lots of talk in the company's statement about expanding, improving and learning from Unilever.

But there's no mention of the sale price nor what it means for private equity firm Carlyle, which has backed Graze since 2012 and which no doubt thought it was time for an exit, as tends to be the strategy with buyout firms.

Graze: Growth opportunities

Using Unilever's global distribution network will be key to Graze's growth, says brand expert Nick Cooper.

The executive director at Landor says the consumer products giant has a good track record nurturing smaller brands.

“In the short term, Unilever will likely leave Graze alone, both as a brand and an organisation. That’s certainly what it did with Ben & Jerry’s.

"Except Graze will be able to tap into the consumer goods giant’s global distribution channels and reach new customers,” he says.