PARIS — Unilever reported third-quarter sales gained 9.4 percent, bolstered by a strong currency impact and emerging markets.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant, parent of brands ranging from Dove soap and Pond’s skin cream to Hellmann’s mayonnaise, registered revenues of 13.4 billion euros, or $14.9 billion, in the three months ended Sept. 30. Exchange rates boosted sales by 2.9 percent, while organic revenue growth was 5.7 percent. Underlying sales in merging markets advanced 8.4 percent.
“The strong delivery in the third quarter shows that our focus to build our company for the long-term is paying off. Growth was, however, helped by some specific factors, such as a soft comparator in China, strong ice cream sales and some advanced sales in Latin America,” said Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive officer.
He added: “We continue to see soft global markets with no immediate sign of getting help from an improving global economy. We are responding fast to accelerating change and high volatility with a focus on continuous cost management while increasing our organizational agility. We will continue to invest steadily behind our brands, innovations and go-to-market capabilities.”
In the quarter, Unilever’s personal-care division posted a 12.9 percent sales increase to 5.07 billion euros, or $5.63 billion, driven by factors such as the dry spray deodorant launch in North America and the expansion of the compressed deodorant formats into Latin America; the rollout of the Dove Advanced Hair Series and success of Lux Luminique hair care in Japan; plus Dove body wash’s improved formulation, which was introduced in China.
Exchange rates contributed 4.7 percent to the division’s sales, and acquisitions, 1.6 percent. Its organic revenue gains were 6.2 percent.
In the first nine months of the year, Unilever’s sales reached 40.39 billion euros, or $45.06 billion, up 11.1 year-on-year.
Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
Looking ahead, Polman said the company will maintain volume growth ahead of its markets and foresees underlying sales growth for 2015 in the upper end of the 2 percent to 4 percent range.
“We continue to expect steady movement in core operating margin and strong cash flow,” he noted.