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Unilever Sees Steady Financial Results for Q3 2010

Posted: November 5, 2010

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In Personal Care

Deodorants continue to deliver strong results and global shares continued to improve. Dove Men+Care has been launched across Europe with encouraging results. Rexona continues to make good progress helped by the success of Rexona Clinical and relaunches in Japan and India. Sustained growth in hair reflected a strong performance in both North and Latin America and the success of the Dove Damage Therapy launch. The Lux Hair relaunch in Japan and China was received well and showed strong momentum. Skin reflects the continuing success of Dove Nutrium Moisture and Dove Men+Care. The rollout of Lifebuoy continued to do well and is now in 33 markets. Vaseline Sheer Infusion did not meet expectations but the Vaseline brand is growing well in emerging markets. In oral Unilever has now rolled out Pepsodent anti-cavity to 25 countries, and it is supporting with the successful ‘brush day and night’ campaign. Signal White Now continues to do well and is now in 30 markets with multiple launches completed in Q3 2010.

Across the Globe

Asia Africa CEE—The region grew ahead of the market and volume shares continue to improve, with particularly strong performances in South East Asia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and India where the actions taken to respond to competitive pressure resulted in an improved performance across the portfolio. Asia and Africa continue to be the engine of growth in the region with double digit volume growth in the year-to-date. CEE markets remain stagnant but here too Unilever continued to gain volume share. Underlying operating margin was down, reflecting lower gross margins in the quarter and the continuing investment. A rollout of a regional IT platform progressed well, with the new platform deployed and running in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

The Americas—Volume growth in North America was greater than 2%, a solid performance given the difficult market conditions. In the US, the company’s performance in deodorants and hair was particularly encouraging with good performance from recent innovations. In the quarter, Latin American markets grew strongly, and Unilever gained volume share while delivering underlying sales growth at around 7% with a positive contribution from pricing. The performance in Mexico was strong and broad-based across the portfolio. Year-to-date Brazil remains the key driver of volume growth in Latin America with pricing now progressively improving.