Unilever Implementing Growth Action Plan at pace

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Algemeen advies 08/02/2024 10:02
Today, we announced our results for the full year 2023.

Underlying sales growth of 7.0% with positive volumes, up 0.2% for the FY and 1.8% in Q4
Turnover of €59.6 billion with -5.7% impact from currency and -1.7% from net disposals
Underlying operating margin up 60bps to 16.7%, with gross margin up 200bps for the year and up 330bps in the second half
Underlying EPS increased 1.4% with -9.6% of adverse currency, up 11% on a constant basis
Diluted EPS down -14.2% against prior year that included €2.3 billion profit on disposal for the Tea business
Strong cash conversion of 111% with free cash flow up €1.9 billion to €7.1 billion
New €1.5 billion share buyback to commence in Q2
Progress against Growth Action Plan, including:
New leadership team has embedded the plan across the organisation
30 Power Brands (around 75% of turnover) accretive to growth and margin, with underlying sales up 8.6%
Brand and marketing investment up 130bps to 14.3%, focused on 30 Power Brands
Active portfolio optimisation into premium segments, announced acquisitions of K18 and Yasso and disposals of Elida Beauty, Dollar Shave Club, Suave in North America
various products
Statement from Hein Schumacher, CEO
“Today’s results show an improving financial performance, with the return to volume growth and margins rebuilding. However, our competitiveness remains disappointing and overall performance needs to improve. We are working to address this by improving our execution to unlock Unilever’s full potential.

“In October, we set out a Growth Action Plan focused on three priorities: delivering higher-quality growth, stepping up productivity and simplicity, and adopting a strong performance focus.

“The new leadership team has embedded the action plan at pace. We have increased investment behind our 30 Power Brands, accelerated portfolio transformation, and are driving a sharper performance focus with clear and stretching targets across the whole organisation.

“We are at the early stages of this work and there is much to do but we are moving with speed and urgency to transform Unilever into a consistently higher performing business.”

We expect underlying sales growth (USG) for 2024 to be within our multi-year range of 3% to 5%, with more balance between volume and price.

We anticipate a modest improvement in underlying operating margin for the full year. We will deliver this through gross margin expansion, driven by a step-up in productivity and net material inflation back to more normal levels.

Growth Action Plan update
In October 2023, we set out a Growth Action Plan to drive improved performance and competitiveness. During the fourth quarter, we moved at pace to embed it across the business.

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