Unilever reports sales slowdown in third quarter
Oct 24 2013 , London
The Anglo-Dutch maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove skincare products had warned in September that a slowdown - in places like Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam - had accelerated, and that it expected underlying sales growth of only 3 percent to 3.5 percent.
The company reported a 3.2 percent rise in third quarter sales, which compared with a 5 percent increase for the second quarter.
"This is a soft quarter without a shadow of a doubt," Chief Financial Officer Jean Marc Huet told Reuters in an interview.
Unilever generates about half its annual sales from developing and emerging markets, a fact that has weighed on its share price, partly because emerging market currency weakness has put pressure on demand in several markets such as India.
The company said it expects sales growth to improve in the fourth quarter, helped by new products.
In the third quarter, sales in emerging markets rose 5.9 percent. Emerging market sales rose 10.3 percent in the second quarter. Huet said Unilever expects growth in those markets to continue in the 6 to 7 percent range in the coming quarters.
Third-quarter sales reflected a 1.9 percent rise in volume and a 1.3 percent rise in prices, the company said.
Unilever's shares were down 0.7 percent in London at 0710 GMT.