Unilever, the maker of Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, said it expects full-year sales growth at the top end of its forecast as it reported third-quarter sales growth that beat estimates on a strong performance from its ice- cream business in Europe.
Underlying revenue increased 5.7 per cent, London and Rotterdam-based Unilever said Thursday, compared with the 4 per cent median estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Growth accelerated from the second quarter’s 2.9 per cent, boosted by the hottest summer on record. It now expects full- year sales “towards the upper end” of its 2 per cent to 4 per cent range.
“Ice cream growth accelerated, driven by successful innovations and helped by good weather in southern Europe,” chief executive officer Paul Polman said in a statement.
Polman has responded to the most difficult stretch of his seven-year tenure by acquiring brands such as Dermalogica and Ren Skincare to build a prestige skincare business. The CEO is seeking to reignite growth at the company’s personal-care division, its largest and most profitable unit. He’s also committed to improving profitability in the company’s home-care business, which includes Persil and Domestos.
Units sold in the quarter rose 4.1 per cent, supporting the company’s forecast that selling volumes would improve over the course of the year. Sales in the unit that includes ice cream rose 8.5 per cent, more than double the growth seen in second quarter.
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