Thursday 25 July 2019 7:50 am

Unilever turnover slumps in cooler weather

Unilever reported a slump in turnover in the first half of 2019 as cooler weather impacted ice cream sales in Europe and the US. 

The figures

Turnover fell 0.9 per cent to €26.1bn in the first half, the company said as it reported its half year and second quarter results this morning.

Second quarter underlying sales growth was 3.5 per cent, missing analyst expectations of a 3.7 per cent rise.

Operating profit was up from €4.52bn in June 2018 to €4.58bn.

Closing net debt was €24.2bn, compared to €22.6bn at 31 December last year.

Earnings per share increased 3.4 per cent to €1.14. Unilever announced a quarterly dividend of €0.4104 per share.

Why it’s interesting

The Ben & Jerry’s owner said ice cream sales in Europe and North America had been affected by rainy spring weather following “two years of very strong summers”.

However, the company saw growth in emerging markets, particularly China and South East Asia.

What Unilever said 

Alan Jope, chief executive of Unilever, 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.

“Our sustainable business model and portfolio of purpose-led brands are key to delivering superior long-term financial performance.”