Unilever (ULVR LN) is up over 3% in European trading this morning, after releasing full-year and Q4 results. Underlying sales growth (excluding the impact of exchange rates, acquisitions and disposals) was 7.8% with strength in Personal Care (+11.5%, 4.0% price, 7.2% volume) and Home Care (+10.4%, 3.1% price, 7.0% volume). Foods were a laggard at +1.3% underlying sales growth with price contributing 1.4%.
These results represent a sequential acceleration in underlying sales growth (+6.0% in Q2 and +6.1% in Q3) and represent strength on strength as the comparable result in Q4 2011 was a +6.6%.
We would like to highlight a couple of items from these results.
- Unilever is a transformed company, with the transformation beginning with the appointment of Paul Polman as CEO, formerly of Nestle
- Unilever is what PG should aspire to be in terms of growth and investment in brands
- Personal and Home Care results are favorable on the margin for PG
- Food results still struggle to find a balance between price and volume growth
It's been fun to watch the transformation of Unilever over the years from a sluggish, inexpensive staples name to a global growth company. If anyone suggests that the jockey doesn't matter in a horse race, point them toward Unilever.
HEDGEYE RISK MANAGEMENT, LLC