Unilever Revenues Rise 7 Percent in Q1

Consumer products giant warns of rising commodity prices, weak consumer confidence.

LONDON — Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch parent of brands including Dove, Vaseline and Pond’s, said revenues grew 7 percent to 10.86 billion euro, or $15.26 billion, in the first three months of the fiscal year.


It was the fifth consecutive quarter of growth. Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the three months to March 31.


However, Unilever added that rising commodity costs — crude oil in particular — had begun to weigh on its balance sheet, and that underlying margin would decrease in the first half before picking up again in the second half.


“We have delivered a good performance, which demonstrates that the transformation of Unilever is progressing well; this against a backdrop of rising commodity costs, weak consumer confidence and very competitive markets,” stated Paul Polman, the company’s chief executive.


All categories showed growth, with sales in emerging markets the most vigorous. Going forward, the company said it would focus on “bigger and better” innovations in a bid to drive growth.

The company added that the integration of Sara Lee’s personal care business is “progressing well” and it would complete the acquisition of Alberto-Culver in the second quarter.

Unilever also said its ongoing cost reduction plan would generate full-year savings of 1.3 billion euro, or $1.82 billion.