Updates from Unilever and SABMiller


The FTSE 100 inched up 7.43 points yesterday, finishing at 6,836. Miner Fresnillo saw the biggest lift, climbing 6.08% to 776.50p with Randgold Resources not far behind, up +5.82% at 4185p. Going in the other direction, Barclays shares slipped 2% yesterday to 282.80p on fixed income trading weakness.

The Dow Jones ended Monday 41.55 points higher at 16,458.5, up 0.25%.

The big news this morning is from Unilever. The Persil-to-Surf-to-Dove maker sees full-year turnover slip 3%, part-due to exchange rate fluctuations. Underlying sales climb 4.3% for the full year (and more than 4% in the last quarter) helped by an 8.7% climb in emerging market sales.

Full year net profits come in at €5.26bn, up 9%, while revenues are worth, in total, €49.8bn. For the full year Unilever's gross margin increases 110bps to 41.2% at constant exchange rates. However worry remains around continued growth in emerging markets.

"We have delivered," said the company, "another year of consistent underlying sales growth and margin expansion coupled with strong cash flow. This has been achieved despite significant economic headwinds and highly competitive markets."

Next, an interim from brewer SABMiller for the third quarter. Group net producer revenues grew 4% while total beverage volumes grew 2% on an organic basis. However depreciation from currencies against the dollar hits "adversely" reported numbers.

The mixed results are in line with expectations says SABMiller. In Europe, group net producer revenue on an organic, constant currency basis declined 6%. But domestic volumes in the UK were up 9% led by Peroni Nastro Azzurro as a result of increased distribution and an improved rate of sale.

Trading conditions continued to be challenging in North America and Europe says the company. But Latin America group revenues climbed 5% in the third quarter on an organic, constant currency basis.

Finally, Original Source maker PZ Cussons says half year revenues climbed 4.1% to £413.8m with operating profit rising 6.2% to £48.1m. The interim dividend per share climbs 7.7% to 2.53p, good news for shareholders accustomed to regular hikes.

PZ says its balance sheet remains strong and claims the numbers are a good result for the half year, achieved despite a significant weakening in Asian currencies, and in particular the Australian dollar and Indonesian rupiah.

"Our performance in the UK has been particularly robust and growth is improving in all our categories in Nigeria." However trading conditions in all markets remain "challenging" warns the Manchester-based company."