Unilever turnover grows 6% to €13.3bn

Unilever performed solidly in the first quarter, reporting year-on-year turnover growth of 6.1% to €13.3bn (£11.15bn).

Dove Baby was launched in the UK using an AI-image of the 'perfect mum'
Dove Baby was launched in the UK using an AI-image of the 'perfect mum'

In today's financial statement, chief executive Paul Polman credited the company's 'Connected for Growth' programme which involved the consolidation of its local and global marketing units

"The actions we are taking keep us on track for another year of underlying sales growth ahead of our markets, in the 3 – 5% range. We also expect an improvement in underlying operating margin this year of at least 80 basis points and strong cash flow," Polman said. 

He also said that shareholder dividends would be raised by 12%, a move which should help appease those that felt disgruntled over Unilever's sound rejection of Kraft Heinz' proposed merger

The statement made no reference to the proposed merger by Kraft Heinz but it did offer turnover figures for its food and refreshment divisions that excluded spreads - the division it plans to sell

In the first three months of the year, Unilever's food and refreshment division, excluding spreads, reported a turnover of €4.7bn. Including spreads, that figure becomes €5.5bn with an underlying sales growth of 2.2%.

This indicates Unilever's spreads division reported sales of €800m. 

Overall, Unilever's underlying sales grew 2.9%. Its refreshment, home care and personal care divisions "grew ahead of our markets", partly driven by new launches including Dove Baby in the UK and the US

On the other hand, sales in foods were flat due to "a later Easter". 

Excluding spreads, underlying sales growth was 3.4% with volume sales up 0.3%. 

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