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Unilever Q3 2012 Results Strong on Back of Beauty Brands

Posted: October 25, 2012

Unilever released its results for the third quarter 2012, once again reporting good quality growth, with volumes ahead of its markets. This performance helps show that Unilever’s transformation to a sustainable growth company is well on track and is being embedded deeply in the business.

Included in the company’s third quarter highlights: Turnover increased by 10.3% to €13.4 billion with a positive impact of 4.1% from foreign exchange and 0.1% from M&A; underlying sales growth was up 5.9% with emerging markets up 12.1%; and underlying volume growth increased 3.4% ahead of the company’s markets, with pricing up 2.4%.

Nine months highlights for Unilever include: Turnover increased by 11.1% to €38.8 billion with a positive impact of 2.6% from foreign exhchange and 1.5% from M&A; underlying sales growth increasing 6.6% with emerging markets up 11.7%; and underlying volume growth 3.0% ahead of its markets, with pricing up 3.5%.

Despite continued high levels of competitive intensity, depressed economies and increasing global imbalances and uncertainty, Unilever saw solid growth with a balance between volume and price. Its emerging markets businesses delivered another quarter of double-digit growth, taking year to date growth to 11.7%, while developed markets declined in the quarter but are up 0.8% year to date.

Commenting on the results, CEO Paul Polman said, “The Compass strategy and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan are driving aligned actions across the business. We are seeing a steady improvement in the quality of our innovation, meeting the needs of consumers wherever they are. The organizational structure that we announced last year is already paying off and we are seeing benefits in terms of our agility and discipline in operational execution.”

Specifically for Unilever’s personal care division, the company’s hair business’s performance reflected the success of a strong program of activities across the brands. TREsemmé did well in its traditional markets, made strong headway in Brazil and has recently been launched in Indonesia and India. Also, the Clear launch in the U.S. is performing well, and the brand is making inroads into other new markets, such as Australia, as well. Dove Damage Therapy continues to drive growth across many markets, and Dove Men+Care hair was launched in Brazil, while Axe hair has established a good platform in Europe and was launched in Turkey.

Deodorants grew ahead of markets with a broad-based, good performance across the key brands and geographies.  Dove continued to deliver strong growth, and Rexona was underpinned by the extension of the MotionSense technology to Rexona for Men. Axe also benefited from strong digital campaigns, and Axe Anarchy continues to do well.

Dove also continues to drive skin cleansing growth with the continuing success of Dove Nutrium Moisture and Dove Men+Care. Lifebuoy is progressing well driven by the ‘10 seconds germ-removal’ hand wash campaign supporting the launch of Lifebuoy Clini-Care 10 in India and South Africa. And both Radox and Duschdas, brands acquired from Sara Lee, are performing well. In skin care, Vaseline Daily Care Total Moisture maintained good momentum while a Dove Men+Care face range was launched in the UK. And the acquired Kalina brands in Russia performed strongly.

The company’s oral business also improved its growth rate in the third quarter driven by the roll-out of Expert Protection in Signal/Pepsodent, and ‘3x fresher breath’ proposition for Close Up. Pepsodent 123 was launched in Indonesia and Vietnam, and Unilever also launched Pepsodent in South Africa.

Learn more about  the performance of Unilever’s other divisions, as well as additional financial information on the company, here.