Unilever share price jumps as it smashes expectations boosted by emerging markets

Clara Guibourg
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Magnum sales helped boost Unilever's results (Source: Getty)

The figures

Consumer goods giant Unilever soared past forecasts with its third quarter results, reporting underlying sales growth of 5.7 per cent, against expectations of four per cent.

The British-Dutch firm reported an overall turnover of £9.9bn, up by 9.4 per cent, helped along further by currency tailwinds boosting this figure by 2.9 per cent.

Unilever’s shares are up by 8.4 per cent since the beginning of the year, and rose 3.9 per cent to 2,900p in late morning trading.

Why it’s interesting

2015 was supposed to be a tricky year for Unilever, but surprisingly strong growth in emerging markets, especially Latin America, have held the multinational consumer goods giant aloft.

When the company missed its sales expectations last year, chief executive Paul Polman said it didn’t plan on a “significant improvement in market conditions” over 2015.

Since then, however, Unilever has smashed through sales expectations for three consecutive quarters. In emerging markets. It had especially strong underlying sales growth of 8.4 per cent in the last quarter, boosted by strong sales in Latin America and good weather lifting ice cream sales.

What they said

Polman said:

The strong delivery in the third quarter shows that our focus to build our company for the long term is paying off. Growth was however helped by some specific factors such as a soft comparator in China, strong ice cream sales and some advanced sales in Latin America.

We continue to see soft global markets with no immediate sign of getting help from an improving global economy.

In short

Unilever has managed to shrug off an initially glum outlook for 2015 to exceed expectations for the third consecutive quarter.

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