Unilever Announces Final Results

LONDON/ ROTTERDAM--(Marketwire - Jan 23, 2013) -

2012 FULL YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS STRONG, BROAD-BASED GROWTH IN 2012 Full year highlights - Turnover increased by 10.5% to EUR51.3 billion with a positive impact from foreign exchange of 2.2% and acquisitions net of disposals of 1.1%. - Underlying sales growth 6.9% comprising volume growth of 3.4% and price growth of 3.3%. - Emerging markets underlying sales growth 11.4% now representing 55% of turnover. - Core operating margin up 30bps to 13.8%; gross margin up 10bps, advertising and promotions up EUR470million at constant exchange rates. - Core earnings per share increased by 11% to EUR1.57; free cash flow of EUR4.3 billion. Fourth quarter highlights - Underlying sales growth 7.8% with volume growth of 4.8% and price growth of 2.9%.     Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer statement"We continue to make good progress in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth company. We have reported another quarter of good quality, profitable growth ahead of our markets. All categories and all geographies grew with a good overall balance between volume and price. Emerging markets again contributed double-digit growth helping us exceed EUR50 billion turnover, an important milestone in our journey to double the size of Unilever from EUR40 to EUR80 billion whilst reducing our environmental impact. These results have been achieved in tough economic conditions, with volatile commodity costs and in an intensely competitive environment. They reflect the progress made in delivering bigger, better innovations and rolling them out faster, improving our execution in the market place and increased discipline driving savings in all areas of the business. We continued to invest behind our brands, again increasing advertising and promotions spend. I am pleased to report that Magnum and Sunsilk have joined the group of EUR1 billion brands in our portfolio, bringing the total to fourteen. This gives us confidence that Unilever is becoming fit to win. Importantly, we achieved these results whilst continuing to lay the foundations for the long term. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is becoming embedded across the business. However there is no room for complacency: markets will remain challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs. We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow." Key Financials (unaudited) Current Rates Full Year 2012 Underlying Sales Growth (*) 6.9% Turnover EUR51.3bn +10.5% Operating Profit EUR7.0bn +9% Net Profit EUR4.9bn +7% Core earnings per share (*) EUR1.57 +11% Diluted earnings per share EUR1.54 +5% Quarterly dividend payable in March 2013 EUR0.243 per share (*) Underlying sales growth and core earnings per share are non-GAAP measures, see note 2 on page 10. 23 January 2013 OPERATIONAL REVIEW: CATEGORIES Fourth Quarter 2012 (unaudited) Turnover USG UVG UPG EURbn % % % Unilever Total 12.6 7.8 4.8 2.9 Personal Care 4.7 11.5 7.2 4.0 Foods 3.8 1.3 (0.1) 1.4 Refreshment 1.9 9.8 6.7 2.9 Home Care 2.3 10.4 7.0 3.1 Full Year 2012 Change in core operating (unaudited) Turnover USG UVG UPG margin EURbn % % % bps Unilever Total 51.3 6.9 3.4 3.3 30 Personal Care 18.1 10.0 6.5 3.3 (50) Foods 14.4 1.8 (0.9) 2.7 - Refreshment 9.7 6.3 2.4 3.9 170 Home Care 9.1 10.3 6.2 3.9 50 Our markets: Throughout 2012 our markets experienced markedly different dynamics as emerging markets grew in both volume and value terms whilst developed market value remained subdued, with volumes lower than prior year. Unilever performance: In this context Unilever delivered another quarter of solid growth. All of our categories grew, driven by the combination of strong innovations, sharpened in-market execution and the rollout of our brands to new markets. Emerging markets underlying sales growth was 10.8% in the quarter, evenly split between volume and price, taking the full year underlying sales growth to 11.4%. The developed markets grew 4.0% in the quarter and were up 1.6% in the full year. Higher commodity costs were offset by increased prices, our strong savings programmes and the benefits of mix. Full year gross margin improved 10bps to 40.0% at constant exchange rates. We continued to invest strongly behind our brands and we increased absolute advertising and promotions spend by EUR470 million. Lower overhead costs were due to a reduction of 20bps in business restructuring. Core operating margin was therefore up 30bps at 13.8%. Personal Care Hair finished the year with a strong quarter of double-digit growth. Tresemme had an excellent quarter, reflecting strength in Brazil and the impact of the recent launches in Indonesia and India. Dove Hair benefited from the continuing success of Dove Damage Therapy. Clear also grew strongly, completing a good first year in the highly competitive US market. Sunsilk became a EUR1 billion brand driven by the growth of the core business coupled with the success of recent innovations such as the natural oils range. Skin performance reflected the success of innovations across the portfolio. Dove Nutrium Moisture continues to drive growth in body wash and the Dove Purely Pampering range, successful in skin cleansing, is now being extended to hand & body. Dove Men+Care continued to build sales and was extended to male face care in the UK. Lifebuoy had another strong quarter reflecting good progress on the core products, the success of Lifebuoy Clini-Care 10 and the recent launch of colour-changing germ protection hand wash in Indonesia and India. The broad-based growth of the Lux brand in emerging markets reflected the successful relaunch with improved product quality, winning fine fragrances and strong advertising. The acquired Kalina brands continued to make good progress in Russia. Deodorants growth reflected a good performance from Rexona with the notable success of Maximum Protection in Latin America and the extension of the MotionSense technology to North America. Dove deodorant was underpinned by a strong innovation programme and the rollout of Dove Men+Care. Competitive intensity in oral was high but Signal Expert Protection continued to do well and we launched White Now Gold in France and Italy. Core operating margin was down 50bps, reflecting stable gross margin and the investment that we are making to build beauty capabilities and infrastructure. Foods Foods growth in the quarter was weak, in part due to difficult markets. In spreads we saw a decline in sales although volume shares improved in response to actions we took to ensure that our pricing was competitive. There is still more to do to drive category growth, for example our successful liquid margarines for use in cooking. During the quarter, Becel Gold was extended to the Nordics and Bertolli Gold was launched in the UK. Dressings continued to perform well despite a step-up in competitive intensity. We continued to benefit from our campaign to inspire new uses of mayonnaise and we are also seeing the impact of successful digital activities. Despite sluggish growth in the core savoury business, new product innovations continued to perform well. Knorr jelly bouillon grew strongly driven by new variant launches such as Borsch and White Mushroom in Russia and Herbs and Spices in Austria and Switzerland. Knorr baking bags also grew rapidly and gained share in most markets despite intense competition. Our Food Solutions business, serving professional chefs, delivered solid results despite challenging developed markets, underpinned by double digit growth in key emerging markets. Core operating margin was flat with lower gross margin, reflecting the impact of higher commodity costs, offset by lower advertising and promotions and overheads. Refreshment Ice cream saw double-digit growth in the quarter, primarily driven by volume. Magnum completed a successful year by passing the EUR1 billion milestone on the back of Magnum Infinity and the recent launches into new countries such as the Philippines. Cornetto and Max both grew strongly in 2012. Ben & Jerry's also performed well although we saw intense competition in take home ice cream, particularly in the US. Beverages growth continued to improve in the quarter with Lipton progressing well, underpinned by the success of teapot bags in Turkey and the relaunch of the brand in Russia. India delivered a strong performance on Brooke Bond with double-digit growth in both the premium and value segments of the market. The 170bps improvement in core operating margin was driven by higher gross margin, reflecting a strong savings programme, and improved overheads leverage. Home Care Fabrics cleaning grew ahead of our markets, reflecting the continuing success of Omo, relaunched to deliver faster stain removal, and the rapid growth of liquids across our brands and countries. Fabric conditioners also performed well driven largely by the new concentrated products and super-sensorial variants. Household care growth continued to reflect strong performances by Sunlight hand dishwash and Domestos. Cif performance also improved driven for example by a strong innovation programme in Argentina and the success of the new Cif sprays and wipes with new Easy Lift technology in the UK. Successful new business models underpinned the 50bps improvement in core operating margin.     OPERATIONAL REVIEW: GEOGRAPHIES Fourth Quarter 2012 (unaudited) Turnover USG UVG UPG EURbn % % % Unilever Total 12.6 7.8 4.8 2.9 Asia/AMET/RUB 5.0 9.9 5.9 3.8 The Americas 4.2 11.8 6.9 4.6 Europe 3.3 0.2 0.7 (0.6) Full Year 2012 Change in core operating (unaudited) Turnover USG UVG UPG margin EURbn % % % bps Unilever Total 51.3 6.9 3.4 3.3 30 Asia/AMET/RUB 20.4 10.6 5.7 4.6 110 The Americas 17.1 7.9 3.1 4.8 30 Europe 13.9 0.8 0.9 (0.1) (90) Asia/AMET/RUB Balanced growth in the fourth quarter, with volumes ahead of our markets, reflected continuing strong performances in Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan. Growth in India was broad-based, across categories and channels. Russia implemented the regional SAP platform during the quarter and we saw good progress from the recently acquired Kalina business. Core operating margin was up 110bps, benefiting from improved gross margin and lower overheads. The overheads result comprised an underlying improvement combined with the profit on disposal of properties in India. The Americas North America grew mid single-digit in the quarter, adjusting for the impact of the sales brought forward in the prior year prior to a systems upgrade. The growth was mainly volume driven. Magnum continued to do well in ice cream and the launch of Clear helped drive a strong performance in hair. In January 2013 we announced the disposal of the Skippy peanut butter business. Latin America grew by 11.6% in the quarter, the sixth successive quarter of double-digit growth, driven by Argentina and Brazil, the latter benefiting from a strong ice cream performance and the success of Tresemme in hair. Core operating margin, up 30bps, was driven by improved gross margin and overheads offset by higher advertising and promotions expenditure. Europe European performance was sluggish reflecting the fragile state of consumer confidence and intensely competitive markets. However, despite this difficult environment, we delivered positive growth for the year with the UK and France continuing to perform well. We have responded to the needs of hard-pressed consumers by providing good quality products at low price points. Core operating margin was down 90bps against a strong prior year comparator. Gross margin was negative reflecting the impact of higher commodity costs.     ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - FULL YEAR Finance costs and tax The cost of financing net borrowings in 2012 was EUR390 million versus EUR448 million in 2011. Whilst the average level of net debt increased, interest rate movements were favourable: the average interest rate on borrowings was 3.5% and the average return on cash deposits was 2.9%. The pensions finance cost was a charge of EUR7 million compared with income of EUR71 million in the prior year. The effective tax rate was 26.4% versus 26.5% in 2011. Joint ventures, associates and other income from non-current investments Net profit from joint ventures and associates, together with other income from non-current investments contributed EUR91 million compared to EUR189 million in 2011. The income from joint ventures and associates was broadly similar to the prior year. Income from non-current investments fell as a result of two significant but unrelated items. The current year includes the negative impact of the impairment of warrants associated with the US laundry business which was sold previously. Separately, in the prior year we benefitted from a positive fair value adjustment for warrants associated with the previous disposal of our interest in JohnsonDiversey. Earnings per share Core earnings per share for the full year was up 11% at EUR1.57, driven by the improvement in core operating profit, lower financing costs, lower tax rates and currency which were partially offset by higher profits attributable to non-controlling interests and lower income from non-current investments. This measure excludes the impact of business disposals, acquisition and disposal related costs, impairments and other one-off items. Fully diluted earnings per share for the full year was up 5% at EUR1.54. This increase is less than that for core earnings per share due to a lower profit from business disposals and lower one-off items, principally the pension credit in the prior year. Restructuring and disposals Business restructuring spend at 110bps of turnover for the year was 20bps lower than the same period in 2011. This reflects increased discipline in managing restructuring expenditure. We have continued to invest where necessary to make the business fit to compete in the current environment. This excludes the restructuring associated with acquisitions and disposals. Acquisition and disposal related costs amounted to EUR190 million, lower than the EUR234 million in 2011 and mainly relating to the integration of Alberto Culver. Profit on business disposals contributed EUR117 million, mainly relating to the disposal of the US frozen foods business, lower than the EUR221 million in 2011. Free cash flow and net debt Free cash flow was EUR4.3 billion, up from EUR3.1 billion in 2011. This is mainly due to higher operating profit and improved trade working capital performance. Consistent management attention has enabled us to deliver a third year in which average trade working capital as a percentage of sales has been negative. Closing net debt at EUR7.4 billion was down from EUR8.8 billion as at 31 December 2011. Closing cash and cash equivalents was EUR2.5 billion, down from EUR3.5 billion as at 31 December 2011. Pensions The net pensions deficit was EUR3.7 billion at the end of 2012 versus EUR3.2 billion at the end of 2011. This is due to an increase in liabilities resulting from the decrease in discount rates, offset to some extent by good investment performance increasing pension assets. Cash expenditure on pensions was EUR721 million, in line with expectations, versus the EUR553 million in the prior year. This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including' forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.     CAUTIONARY STATEMENT Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; increasing competitive pressures; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; finding sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and national disasters; the debt crisis in Europe; financial risks; failure to meet high product safety and ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 and the Annual Report and Accounts 2011. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.     ENQUIRIES Media: Media Relations Team Investors: Investor Relations Team UK +44 20 7822 6719 +44 20 7822 6830 trevor.gorin@unilever.com investor.relations@unilever.com NL +31 10 217 4844 flip.dotsch@unilever.com There will be a web cast of the results presentation available at: www.unilever.com/ourcompany/investorcentre/results/quarterlyresults/default.asp The web cast can also be viewed from the Unilever Investor Relations app which you can download from: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unilever-investor-centre-app/id483403509?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 To view the full text of this press release, paste the following link into your web browser: http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/1433W_1-2013-1-22.pdf This information is provided by RNS The company news service from the London Stock Exchange END