Why Unilever PLC Is Up 38% During The Last 12 Months


Unilever (LSE: ULVR) (NYSE: UL.US) has advanced 38% to 2,736p during the last twelve months, making the share one of the best performers in the FTSE 100.

The company, which is the force behind 400 popular brands, including Lynx deodorant, Cornetto ice cream and Domestos bleach, seems to have impressed investors with a series of encouraging statements.

During July, Unilever announced half-year results for 2012 that highlighted an 11.5% rise in turnover, bringing the figure to EUR25.4bn, as well as an increase in core earnings per share of 6%, to EUR0.76. However, net profit was also up, at EUR2.4bn but by a smaller rate of 1%.

During October, Unilever's third-quarter statement revealed turnover had climbed by 10% to EUR13bn and underlying volume growth was ahead of the market at 3.4%. Also revealed in the statement was the company's underlying sales growth of 5.9%.

Then in January, Unilever disclosed full-year results that revealed core earnings per share up by 11% to EUR1.57. The company also revealed fourth-quarter underlying sales growth of 8% and boasted free cash flow had reached EUR4.3bn.

Paul Polman, Unilever's chief executive, said at the time:

"We continue to make good progress in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth company. We have reported another quarter of good quality, profitable growth ahead of our markets. All categories and all geographies grew with a good overall balance between volume and price. Emerging markets again contributed double-digit growth helping us exceed EUR50 billion turnover, an important milestone in our journey to double the size of Unilever from EUR40 to EUR80 billion whilst reducing our environmental impact. "

Mr Polman also highlighted the introduction of Magnum and Sunsilk to Unilever's roster of EUR1 billion brands, which now stand at fourteen.

Unilever's first-quarter update for 2013 will be published on 25 April, which may reveal further positive news that can encourage investors.

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