Consumer Products - Unilever Reports Q4 Sales Miss

Consumer Products - Unilever Reports Q4 Sales Miss

Jope explained that the real issue is volatility in emerging markets, when we see notable slowdowns in places like Argentina, Brazil, and Southeast Asia then that is why they come in at the lower end of the growth range. Former CEO Paul Polman was pushing for Unilever's headquarters to be moved to Amsterdam from London in light of Brexit.

The London-based manufacturer, which is trying to move on from 2018's rejected plan to move its headquarters from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands due to concerns over uncertainty surrounding Brexit, had stated that full-year sales would be at the bottom end of its 3 to 5 percent forecast range. "The deterioration in the conditions for consumers in Argentina resulted in a full year underlying volume decline of -10 per cent, which had a -30bps impact on Unilever volume growth", the company reported.

Speaking to analysts, Jope said that accelerating quality growth would be his top priority.

"In 2019 we expect market conditions to remain challenging", he said, adding that sales growth will likely be in the lower half of its multiyear target of between three and five percent.

Jope, a 34-year veteran of the company, has already embraced the 2020 targets Polman set for Unilever in the wake of 2017's rebuffed $143 billion takeover bid by Kraft Heinz.

It said it remained on track for its 2020 goals.

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"There's nothing new about the intention, but so far at least the reality has failed to live up to it", said analysts at RBC Capital Markets.

However, sales fell 5.1 percent to 51 billion euros ($58.5 billion) due to the divestment of the spreads division and exchange rate fluctuations, the company said.

Consumer goods giant Unilever has warned of a "challenging" year ahead after falling below sales expectations in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Unilever shares were down around 3 percent to 45.87 euros at 1021 GMT on January 31. Organic sales growth of 2.9% last quarter missed consensus forecasts of 3.5% growth, supported by price hikes but with volumes decelerating.

For the full year, Unilever reported turnover of 49.6 billion euros ($57.05 billion), excluding its divested spreads business, and earnings of 3.48 euros per share.

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