Dutch Unilever revenue rockets due to lockdown cooking

Photo: EPA

Pandemic lockdowns had awful influence on several major industries and companies, but the beverage and cosmetics conglomerate Unilever found its way to stay on the profit path on the back of strong demand from emerging markets and end-consumers, Reuters reported. Consumers, locked in their homes were more likely to cook often and use more of Unilever’s products which include food ingredients, soaps, cosmetics, etc. The company announced it would use some of its returns to facilitate a buyback programme worth nearly 3 billion euros of the firm’s stocks.

Unilever easily beat quarterly sales as underlying sales rose 5.7% in the three months to the end of March, topping analysts' average forecast of 3.9%, according to a company supplied consensus. "We have had a good start to the year. We are growing faster than our markets," finance chief Graeme Pitkethly told reporters.

The group it was confident of delivering full-year sales growth within its mid-term target range of 3-5%, with the first half around the top of the range. Some analysts had doubted whether it would hit that goal this year. Unilever also said it expected a slight increase in underlying operating margin this year. The sales in the group's food and refreshments business jumped 9.8% in the quarter, helped by strong demand for home consumption in North America and Europe. Emerging markets saw growth of 9.4%, led by double-digit increases in China and India following strict lockdowns the previous year.

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