Good performance in challenging conditions

London/Rotterdam – Today, Unilever announced its results for the first half of 2015.

  • Turnover increased 12% to €27.0 billion including a positive currency impact of 10%

  • Underlying sales growth at 2.9% with emerging markets up 6.0%

  • Underlying volume growth at 1.1% and pricing up 1.7%

Commenting on the results, Unilever CEO Paul Polman says: “The first half demonstrates again the progress we have made in the transformation of Unilever to deliver consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth, now in the seventh year.

“During the past six months we have also made major progress in the establishment of our Prestige Personal Care business with the announced acquisitions of Dermalogica, Murad, Kate Somerville and REN.

“We plan for another year of volume growth ahead of our markets, steady improvement in core operating margin and strong cash flow.”

Our markets

Consumer demand remains weak and volumes are flat in the markets in which we operate. Emerging markets continue to be subdued, while in Europe and North America growth is negligible.

Unilever performance

Underlying sales growth in the first half was broad-based across our four categories. While growth in Refreshment was due to price, volumes drove the performance in Home Care and Foods.

Emerging markets grew by 6.0% with an increased contribution from volume. We held volumes in developed markets as pricing continued to decline in Europe.

The first-half results show how all our categories are contributing to the overall performance as we implement the sharpened strategy.

Personal Care

Personal Care growth was driven by volume and price. We have a strong innovation pipeline and expect an acceleration in growth in the second half of the year. Innovations are both growing the core of our brands and extending into new segments.

Good growth in deodorants has been supported by the successful dry spray launch in North America and our compressed formats, which we are now rolling from Europe into Latin America. The Dove Advanced Hair Series, is establishing itself well across the world, most recently in Asia. TRESemmé is extending its reach to more premium ranges with the Perfectly (Un)done and Runway collections.

The new Lifebuoy with Activ Naturol offering superior germ kill is helping to grow the brand.

Foods

Savoury showed broad-based growth helped by the success of cooking products in emerging markets and soups in Europe. Growth was driven by innovations and market development campaigns behind our global and local brands. We are introducing more natural products like Knorr wet soups and healthier ones such as fortified stock cubes in Africa which help address iron deficiency.

In dressings, Hellmann’s demonstrated good growth driven by a strong performance in Latin America and by the successful squeezy packaging which we have brought from Europe to North America. Spreads performance was impacted by the sustained contraction in developed markets.

The new Baking, Cooking & Spreads unit, which went live on 1 July, will benefit from future focus as it continues to reposition the business to more attractive segments like mélanges and premium cooking oil blends.

Refreshment

Refreshment grew solidly in value despite volumes being slightly down against a strong prior year performance.

We upgraded the mix in ice cream with innovations behind the premium brands, such as Magnum Pink and Black variants, Ben & Jerry’s Cores range and the new flavours of Breyer’s Gelato. The recent acquisition of Talenti started off well, benefiting from increased distribution in the United States.

In leaf tea we refreshed the Lipton brand with new packaging and extended the premium tea boutiques T2. At the same time we are building our presence in faster growing segments where we are underrepresented like green tea.

Home Care

Home Care delivered broad-based growth led by innovations in higher margin segments such as machine specialist detergents and fabric conditioners.

The roll-out of the new Omo with enhanced formulation and improved cleaning technology continued in Latin America and Asia while Omo pre-treaters have built further market share in Brazil. Fabric conditioners performed strongly helped by the launch of Comfort intense, a super-concentrated product that delivers long-lasting freshness.

In household care we took Cif’s improved ‘Power and Shine’ formulation into 15 European countries.

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Safe Harbour

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', 'looks', '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 Unilever group (the "Group"). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

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; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find 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; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high 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, NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2013 and Annual Report and Accounts 2013. 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.

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