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Unilever Announces Final Results

LONDON/ ROTTERDAM -- (Marketwire) -- 01/23/13 --

                2012 FULL YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS

                 STRONG, BROAD-BASED GROWTH IN 2012



Full year highlights

- Turnover increased by 10.5% to EUR51.3 billion with a positive
impact from foreign exchange of 2.2% and acquisitions net of disposals
of 1.1%.

- Underlying sales growth 6.9% comprising volume growth of 3.4% and
price growth of 3.3%.

- Emerging markets underlying sales growth 11.4% now representing
55% of turnover.

- Core operating margin up 30bps to 13.8%; gross margin up 10bps,
advertising and promotions up EUR470million at constant exchange rates.

- Core earnings per share increased by 11% to EUR1.57; free cash flow
of EUR4.3 billion.


Fourth quarter highlights

- Underlying sales growth 7.8% with volume growth of 4.8% and price
growth of 2.9%.


        Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer statement"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.

These results have been achieved in tough economic conditions, with
volatile commodity costs and in an intensely competitive environment.
They reflect the progress made in delivering bigger, better innovations
and rolling them out faster, improving our execution in the market
place and increased discipline driving savings in all areas of the
business. We continued to invest behind our brands, again increasing
advertising and promotions spend. I am pleased to report that Magnum
and Sunsilk have joined the group of EUR1 billion brands in our
portfolio, bringing the total to fourteen. This gives us confidence
that Unilever is becoming fit to win. Importantly, we achieved these
results whilst continuing to lay the foundations for the long term. The
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is becoming embedded across the
business.

However there is no room for complacency: markets will remain
challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs. We
remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth
ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin
improvement and strong cash flow."

Key Financials (unaudited)
Current Rates                             Full Year 2012
Underlying Sales Growth (*)                      6.9%
Turnover                                 EUR51.3bn   +10.5%
Operating Profit                         EUR7.0bn    +9%
Net Profit                               EUR4.9bn    +7%
Core earnings per share (*)              EUR1.57     +11%
Diluted earnings per share               EUR1.54     +5%
Quarterly dividend payable in March 2013 EUR0.243 per share

(*) Underlying sales growth and core earnings per share are non-GAAP
measures, see note 2 on page 10. 23 January 2013


                      OPERATIONAL REVIEW: CATEGORIES

                                 Fourth Quarter 2012
(unaudited)             Turnover      USG       UVG    UPG
                          EURbn        %         %      %
Unilever Total            12.6        7.8       4.8    2.9
Personal Care              4.7       11.5       7.2    4.0
Foods                      3.8        1.3      (0.1)   1.4
Refreshment                1.9        9.8       6.7    2.9
Home Care                  2.3       10.4       7.0    3.1


                                   Full Year 2012

                                                            Change in
                                                               core
                                                            operating
(unaudited)              Turnover     USG       UVG    UPG    margin
                           EURbn       %         %      %      bps
Unilever Total              51.3      6.9       3.4    3.3     30
Personal Care               18.1     10.0       6.5    3.3    (50)
Foods                       14.4      1.8      (0.9)   2.7      -
Refreshment                  9.7      6.3       2.4    3.9    170
Home Care                    9.1     10.3       6.2    3.9     50


Our markets: Throughout 2012 our markets experienced markedly different
dynamics as emerging markets grew in both volume and value terms whilst
developed market value remained subdued, with volumes lower than prior
year.

Unilever performance: In this context Unilever delivered another
quarter of solid growth. All of our categories grew, driven by the
combination of strong innovations, sharpened in-market execution and
the rollout of our brands to new markets. Emerging markets underlying
sales growth was 10.8% in the quarter, evenly split between volume and
price, taking the full year underlying sales growth to 11.4%. The
developed markets grew 4.0% in the quarter and were up 1.6% in the full
year.

Higher commodity costs were offset by increased prices, our strong
savings programmes and the benefits of mix. Full year gross margin
improved 10bps to 40.0% at constant exchange rates. We continued to
invest strongly behind our brands and we increased absolute advertising
and promotions spend by EUR470 million. Lower overhead costs were due to
a reduction of 20bps in business restructuring. Core operating margin
was therefore up 30bps at 13.8%.

Personal Care

Hair finished the year with a strong quarter of double-digit growth.
Tresemme had an excellent quarter, reflecting strength in Brazil and
the impact of the recent launches in Indonesia and India. Dove Hair
benefited from the continuing success of Dove Damage Therapy. Clear
also grew strongly, completing a good first year in the highly
competitive US market. Sunsilk became a EUR1 billion brand driven by
the growth of the core business coupled with the success of recent
innovations such as the natural oils range.

Skin performance reflected the success of innovations across the
portfolio. Dove Nutrium Moisture continues to drive growth in body wash
and the Dove Purely Pampering range, successful in skin cleansing, is
now being extended to hand & body. Dove Men+Care continued to build
sales and was extended to male face care in the UK. Lifebuoy had
another strong quarter reflecting good progress on the core products,
the success of Lifebuoy Clini-Care 10 and the recent launch of
colour-changing germ protection hand wash in Indonesia and India. The
broad-based growth of the Lux brand in emerging markets reflected the
successful relaunch with improved product quality, winning fine
fragrances and strong advertising. The acquired Kalina brands continued
to make good progress in Russia.

Deodorants growth reflected a good performance from Rexona with the
notable success of Maximum Protection in Latin America and the
extension of the MotionSense technology to North America. Dove
deodorant was underpinned by a strong innovation programme and the
rollout of Dove Men+Care. Competitive intensity in oral was high but
Signal Expert Protection continued to do well and we launched White Now
Gold in France and Italy.

Core operating margin was down 50bps, reflecting stable gross margin
and the investment that we are making to build beauty capabilities and
infrastructure.

Foods

Foods growth in the quarter was weak, in part due to difficult markets.
In spreads we saw a decline in sales although volume shares improved in
response to actions we took to ensure that our pricing was competitive.
There is still more to do to drive category growth, for example our
successful liquid margarines for use in cooking. During the quarter,
Becel Gold was extended to the Nordics and Bertolli Gold was launched
in the UK. Dressings continued to perform well despite a step-up in
competitive intensity. We continued to benefit from our campaign to
inspire new uses of mayonnaise and we are also seeing the impact of
successful digital activities.

Despite sluggish growth in the core savoury business, new product
innovations continued to perform well. Knorr jelly bouillon grew
strongly driven by new variant launches such as Borsch and White
Mushroom in Russia and Herbs and Spices in Austria and Switzerland.
Knorr baking bags also grew rapidly and gained share in most markets
despite intense competition. Our Food Solutions business, serving
professional chefs, delivered solid results despite challenging
developed markets, underpinned by double digit growth in key emerging
markets.

Core operating margin was flat with lower gross margin, reflecting the
impact of higher commodity costs, offset by lower advertising and
promotions and overheads.

Refreshment

Ice cream saw double-digit growth in the quarter, primarily driven by
volume. Magnum completed a successful year by passing the EUR1 billion
milestone on the back of Magnum Infinity and the recent launches into
new countries such as the Philippines. Cornetto and Max both grew
strongly in 2012. Ben & Jerry's also performed well although we saw
intense competition in take home ice cream, particularly in the US.

Beverages growth continued to improve in the quarter with Lipton
progressing well, underpinned by the success of teapot bags in Turkey
and the relaunch of the brand in Russia. India delivered a strong
performance on Brooke Bond with double-digit growth in both the premium
and value segments of the market.

The 170bps improvement in core operating margin was driven by higher
gross margin, reflecting a strong savings programme, and improved
overheads leverage.

Home Care

Fabrics cleaning grew ahead of our markets, reflecting the continuing
success of Omo, relaunched to deliver faster stain removal, and the
rapid growth of liquids across our brands and countries. Fabric
conditioners also performed well driven largely by the new concentrated
products and super-sensorial variants.



Household care growth continued to reflect strong performances by
Sunlight hand dishwash and Domestos. Cif performance also improved
driven for example by a strong innovation programme in Argentina and
the success of the new Cif sprays and wipes with new Easy Lift
technology in the UK.

Successful new business models underpinned the 50bps improvement in
core operating margin.

                   OPERATIONAL REVIEW: GEOGRAPHIES

                              Fourth Quarter 2012
(unaudited)           Turnover       USG       UVG     UPG
                        EURbn         %         %       %
Unilever Total          12.6         7.8       4.8     2.9
Asia/AMET/RUB            5.0         9.9       5.9     3.8
The Americas             4.2        11.8       6.9     4.6
Europe                   3.3         0.2       0.7    (0.6)

                                Full Year 2012
                                                            Change in
                                                              core
                                                            operating
(unaudited)           Turnover       USG       UVG     UPG    margin
                       EURbn          %         %       %      bps
Unilever Total          51.3         6.9       3.4     3.3      30
Asia/AMET/RUB           20.4        10.6       5.7     4.6     110
The Americas            17.1         7.9       3.1     4.8      30
Europe                  13.9         0.8       0.9    (0.1)    (90)

Asia/AMET/RUB

Balanced growth in the fourth quarter, with volumes ahead of our
markets, reflected continuing strong performances in Indonesia,
Thailand and Pakistan. Growth in India was broad-based, across
categories and channels. Russia implemented the regional SAP platform
during the quarter and we saw good progress from the recently acquired
Kalina business.

Core operating margin was up 110bps, benefiting from improved gross
margin and lower overheads. The overheads result comprised an
underlying improvement combined with the profit on disposal of
properties in India.

The Americas

North America grew mid single-digit in the quarter, adjusting for the
impact of the sales brought forward in the prior year prior to a
systems upgrade. The growth was mainly volume driven. Magnum continued
to do well in ice cream and the launch of Clear helped drive a strong
performance in hair. In January 2013 we announced the disposal of the
Skippy peanut butter business.

Latin America grew by 11.6% in the quarter, the sixth successive
quarter of double-digit growth, driven by Argentina and Brazil, the
latter benefiting from a strong ice cream performance and the success
of Tresemme in hair.

Core operating margin, up 30bps, was driven by improved gross margin
and overheads offset by higher advertising and promotions expenditure.

Europe

European performance was sluggish reflecting the fragile state of
consumer confidence and intensely competitive markets. However, despite
this difficult environment, we delivered positive growth for the year
with the UK and France continuing to perform well. We have responded to
the needs of hard-pressed consumers by providing good quality products
at low price points.

Core operating margin was down 90bps against a strong prior year
comparator. Gross margin was negative reflecting the impact of higher
commodity costs.

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - FULL YEAR

Finance costs and tax

The cost of financing net borrowings in 2012 was EUR390 million versus
EUR448 million in 2011. Whilst the average level of net debt increased,
interest rate movements were favourable: the average interest rate on
borrowings was 3.5% and the average return on cash deposits was 2.9%.
The pensions finance cost was a charge of EUR7 million compared with
income of EUR71 million in the prior year.

The effective tax rate was 26.4% versus 26.5% in 2011.

Joint ventures, associates and other income from non-current
investments

Net profit from joint ventures and associates, together with other
income from non-current investments contributed EUR91 million compared
to EUR189 million in 2011. The income from joint ventures and
associates was broadly similar to the prior year.

Income from non-current investments fell as a result of two significant
but unrelated items. The current year includes the negative impact of
the impairment of warrants associated with the US laundry business
which was sold previously. Separately, in the prior year we benefitted
from a positive fair value adjustment for warrants associated with the
previous disposal of our interest in JohnsonDiversey.

Earnings per share

Core earnings per share for the full year was up 11% at EUR1.57, driven
by the improvement in core operating profit, lower financing costs,
lower tax rates and currency which were partially offset by higher
profits attributable to non-controlling interests and lower income from
non-current investments. This measure excludes the impact of business
disposals, acquisition and disposal related costs, impairments and
other one-off items.

Fully diluted earnings per share for the full year was up 5% at
EUR1.54. This increase is less than that for core earnings per share
due to a lower profit from business disposals and lower one-off items,
principally the pension credit in the prior year.

Restructuring and disposals

Business restructuring spend at 110bps of turnover for the year was
20bps lower than the same period in 2011. This reflects increased
discipline in managing restructuring expenditure. We have continued to
invest where necessary to make the business fit to compete in the
current environment. This excludes the restructuring associated with
acquisitions and disposals.

Acquisition and disposal related costs amounted to EUR190 million,
lower than the EUR234 million in 2011 and mainly relating to the
integration of Alberto Culver. Profit on business disposals contributed
EUR117 million, mainly relating to the disposal of the US frozen foods
business, lower than the EUR221 million in 2011.
Free cash flow and net debt

Free cash flow was EUR4.3 billion, up from EUR3.1 billion in 2011. This
is mainly due to higher operating profit and improved trade working
capital performance. Consistent management attention has enabled us to
deliver a third year in which average trade working capital as a
percentage of sales has been negative.

Closing net debt at EUR7.4 billion was down from EUR8.8 billion as at
31 December 2011. Closing cash and cash equivalents was EUR2.5 billion,
down from EUR3.5 billion as at 31 December 2011.

Pensions

The net pensions deficit was EUR3.7 billion at the end of 2012 versus
EUR3.2 billion at the end of 2011. This is due to an increase in
liabilities resulting from the decrease in discount rates, offset to
some extent by good investment performance increasing pension assets.
Cash expenditure on pensions was EUR721 million, in line with
expectations, versus the EUR553 million in the prior year.

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including'
forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will',
'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'believes', 'vision', or the
negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance
or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are
based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated
developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not
historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

                          CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and
uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these
forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the
material or principal factors which could cause actual results to
differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer
preferences; increasing competitive pressures; Unilever's investment
choices in its portfolio management; finding sustainable solutions to
support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and
retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the
cost of raw materials and commodities; secure and reliable IT
infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and
business transformation projects; economic and political risks and
national disasters; the debt crisis in Europe; financial risks; failure
to meet high product safety and ethical standards; and managing
regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of potential risks
and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's
filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US
Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's Annual Report
on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 and the Annual Report
and Accounts 2011. These forward-looking statements speak only as of
the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law
or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or
undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any
forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in
the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events,
conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

                            ENQUIRIES

Media: Media Relations Team     Investors: Investor Relations Team
UK +44 20 7822 6719             +44 20 7822 6830
[email protected]       [email protected]

NL +31 10 217 4844
[email protected]

There will be a web cast of the results presentation available at:
www.unilever.com/ourcompany/investorcentre/results/quarterlyresults/default.asp

The web cast can also be viewed from the Unilever Investor Relations
app which you can download from:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unilever-investor-centre-app/id483403509?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4


To view the full text of this press release, paste the following link
into your web browser:
http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/1433W_1-2013-1-22.pdf





                    This information is provided by RNS
          The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

END

Contacts:
RNS
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Services
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Email Contact
http://www.rns.com

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