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Unilever upbeat despite soft ice cream sales

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Unilever expects sales growth for its new financial year to be in the "lower half" of its 3-5% range after revenue fell "slightly below" expectations in 2019 because of a slowdown in the fourth quarter.

Chief executive Alan Jope, said: "While we expect an improvement from the fourth quarter of 2019 into the first half of 2020, first half underlying sales growth will be below 3%."

Unilever forecasts an improvement in the second half of 2020 and its share price rose 1.3% to £45.00 in early trading.

But Mr Jope cautioned: "The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is unknown at this time."

Home care, which includes cleaning brands such as Cif was Unilever's stand-out division with sales rising by 6.1% last year.

In food, however, sales rose by 1.5% with ice cream facing tough comparisons to the previous year when hot weather in Europe increased demand for products such as Ben & Jerry's.

Overall, Unilever said its turnover increased by 2% to €51.9bn (£43.9bn) for 2019.

Pre-tax profit fell by 32.9% to €8.3bn. In the previous year, Unilever had made a €4.3bn gain in 2018 after selling its margarine and spreads business.

Source - BBC News

About the author

Philip Scott

Head of Equities, Director

Philip has worked as a Private Client Stockbroker for nearly 20 years, commencing his career in Operations with Rensburg Sheppards (now part of Investec plc) before spending 9 years with Killik & Co advising on and directly managing portfolios. He joined SI Capital in 2006 to head up the Private Client Advisory desk.

Philip is a regular contributor to local media commenting on stock market dynamics and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (MCSI). His RDR qualification gained special recognitionfrom the CISI for achieving the highest combined pass mark in the country for the Investment Advice Diploma in 2012.

“At SI Capital I enjoy being part of a talented team who collectively share the same desire to provide excellence in service.  My focus is to ensure that each client receives effective and optimal management of their assets.”

Philip lives locally, is married with 2 daughters and is an avid sports fan (if now predominantly from the sidelines).  His other interests include music and film.

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