Unilever Sticks to Forecasts Despite Q2 Profits Plunge

31 July 2003

Unilever is standing by its full-year estimates despite a 26% tumble in second-quarter profits.

The Anglo-Dutch colossus insists it will achieve low double-digit earnings growth in 2003 after Q2 pre-tax earnings totalled €1.03 billion, down from €1.4bn a year earlier. The profits plunge partly reflects an exceptional charge of €99m.

Total revenues for the quarter slipped from €12.54 billion to €12.36bn, largely due to the Path to Growth strategy of offloading non-core products. This means that for the first half, profits slipped from €2.29bn to €2.13bn as revenues sank from €24bn to €23.4bn.

In line with a recent trading update [WAMN: 24-Jun-03], sales of Unilever’s key brands rose 3.1% over the first six months of the year. The group repeated a revised target of 4% growth for all of 2003, below the 5% to 6% envisaged under Path to Growth.

Much of this expansion will come from the developing world. Excluding disposals, Q2 turnover dropped 1.7% in Europe and 9% in North America, but climbed 3.3% in Asia and 7% in Latin America.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff