The company states that more than 2 billion consumers worldwide use a Unilever product every day.
My previous post on Unilever was at the same time last year. Today they have announced results for the full year to 31st December 2015 (link via Investegate).
The Company reported an impressive 10% rise in underlying sales and a 14% increase in core earnings per share. However profits were down 6% on 2014.
Unilever said underlying sales growth in emerging markets, where it makes more than half its sales, rose to 7.1% from 5.7% in 2014.
CEO, Paul Polman said "We are preparing ourselves for tougher market conditions and high volatility in 2016, as world events in recent weeks have highlighted. Therefore it is vital that we drive agility and cost discipline across our business. We are further strengthening our innovation funnel while shortening innovation cycle times, stepping up our digital capabilities and rolling out a global zero based budgeting programme. Our priorities continue to be volume-driven growth ahead of our markets, steady improvement in core operating margin and strong cash flow."
A 4th quarterly dividend of 30.2 euros - 23p will be paid in March. This will make a total of 120.8 euros for the full year - an increase of 5.9% but after FX conversions, the dividend paid to UK holders is just 88.49p for the full year (90.02p 2014).
Unilever is one of those companies with strong brands and a wide economic moat which helps it to maintain an edge over competitors and provide good long-term returns for patient investors. It is a top holding for Nick Train’s Finsbury Growth & Income Trust comprising around 9.0% of the portfolio.
Although returns have been affected by currency fluctuations, these things have a way of balancing out over the longer term.
By mid morning, the shares were up ~2% at £29.00 - more or less in line with the wider markets.
Although I have been reducing my shares portfolio in recent months, I have so far resisted the temptation to dispose of this one which has been one of the stalwarts of my portfolio for several years. Total return over the past year was 15% which is far ahead of the FTSE 100 - there is little doubt this is a quality operation so I may well hang in for a while longer.
For those who would like a more in depth overview, I recommend a recent post by No More Waffles.