Unilever boss looks to mend fences with the City in upcoming results
The City will be turning its gaze towards Unilever later this week, with the consumer goods giant looking to reassure investors after a turbulent year which ended with the departure of long-reigning boss Paul Polman.
The blue-chip firm behind Marmite and Persil is set to post its full-year results on Thursday under the leadership of Alan Jope, who replaced Polman at the start of this month following the firm's aborted plan to move its headquarters from London to Rotterdam.
"New chief executive Alan Jope will have to start mending fences after the friction of the last 12 months. With brands like Marmite and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream it has started to rationalise by selling off its spreads business in seeking to maximise its margins," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
Hewson added: "Given its size and scale, this week’s full year numbers shouldn’t be too much of a concern for shareholders."
According to analysts’ consensus, the FTSE 100 firm is due to post 2018 full-year sales of €51bn (£44bn), marking a five per cent drop year-on-year, while underlying operating profit is expected to come in at €9.3bn, compared with €9.4bn in the previous year.
Meanwhile, underlying sales growth is forecasted to have risen three per cent, with prices up 0.9 per cent and volumes up 2.1 per cent.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "After a tempestuous year, which saw a plan to move to the Netherlands from the UK fail in the face of shareholder opposition, boss Paul Polman depart and the £3.3bn purchase of Horlicks and a range of other nutritional products from GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever will be looking to stress that it is business as usual under its new chief executive Alan Jope."
Jope, who was previously president of beauty and personal care for Unilever, officially took over as boss of Unilever on 1 January this year, ending Polman’s decade-long tenure as boss.
During his 10 years at the helm of the company, Polman won over plaudits for fighting off a £115bn takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz and forging a reputation as a champion of ethical capitalism.
Read more: Polman bows out of Unilever with a rich legacy, but a tarnished reputation
However, the company was thrown into controversy during his last year as chief executive, following Unilever’s botched attempt to consolidate the firm’s headquarters in Rotterdam, which was thwarted by an investor rebellion.