Blog: Unilever switches focus to the East

Michelle Russell | 17 February 2010

Unilever's recent publication of its annual results - the first year under the stewardship of CEO Paul Polman - received a broadly positive response from the investment community.

With one notable exception. The company's performance in Western Europe.

The region will be an area of focus for Unilever and Polman this year after the company's sales there fell during 2009.

Unilever's restructuring fell heavily on Western Europe in 2009 but, even after costs linked to those programmes were stripped out, margins and operating profit from Western Europe was lower in 2009 than the year before.

As we reported earlier this month, Western Europe is an area of Unilever's business that the chief executive has acknowledged needs attention.

Despite Western Europe remaining a “tough environment” on macro-economic level, Polman is comfortable admitting there are places where the firm is not as competitive as it should be.

However, as Unilever told its audience at the CAGNY investor conference yesterday (16 February), there remains much to give the business cause for optimism - not least within emerging markets.

In 2009, Unilever's revenues across Asia and Africa rose and the company is keen to capitalise on its business in emerging markets this year.

The firm’s footprint in developing and emerging markets has grown from 20% to 50% of Unilever in the last 20 years and the group is clearly hoping this trend will continue.

Speaking to analysts at the CAGNY conference in Florida yesterday (16 February) Michael Polk, president of Unilever Americas said he expects to have around 1bn new consumers in these markets by 2020.

Ambitious but not unrealistic given Unilever's success in the last 12 months.


BLOG

Blue Bell Creameries involved in another safety scare

Blue Bell Creameries is trying to win back the trust of consumers after a fatal listeriosis outbreak last year was linked to its products - but in recent days the US ice cream maker has issued another...

BLOG

Hain Celestial's Orchard House deal waved through

The UK's competition regulator has given the all-clear to Hain Celestial's bid to buy UK food and beverage group Orchard House Foods, nine months after the US group announced the deal....

BLOG

Hershey's unusual move to share sales data

Hershey made an unusual announcement today (20 September), sharing its own sales data for the last four weeks to assuage any possible investor concern over figures released by Nielsen....

BLOG

Are EU nations using Brexit to revisit country of origin labeling?

As the UK starts to ponder what kind of a relationship it wants with the European Union post-Brexit, EU leaders have been lining up to warn that Britain will not be allowed to "cherry pick" deals and ...

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?