A 12.3 % turnover growth, up to 12.8 billion euro, has given British-Dutch Unilever an excellent start to 2015. Its underlying sales also grew 2.8 % in the first quarter.
Home Care experiences biggest growth
The Dove, Axe, Knorr, Lipton and Ben&Jerry's manufacturer managed a 12.8 billion euro turnover in its previous quarter: "Despite high levels of currency and commodity volatility, we are now starting to see more tailwinds than headwinds in our markets, and expect our initiatives to deliver a further improvement in volume growth in the remainder of the year", CEO Paul Polman said in a trading update.
Its underlying growth reached 2.8 %: 0.9 % because of volume growth and 1.9 % because of price increases. 'Home Care', worth 2.5 billion euro, experienced the biggest growth with 3.1 %, followed by the Foods division (up 2.9 % to 3.2 billion euro), Personal Care (up 2.7 % to 4.8 billion euro) and Refreshment (up 2.5 % to 2.3 billion euro).
European performance still weak
The European market is still the weakest regional market (0.4 % underlying turnover drop to 3.1 billion euro), as price deflation is ruining the possible gains from increased volumes. Central and Easter European performances have given Unilever reason to say these areas have had an "encouraging start". There was modest growth in North America thanks to increased prices, but its South American performance was even more solid: together both regions reached 4.2 billion euro, a 4.7 % year-on-year growth.
The "rest of the world" represents a 5.5 billion euro turnover (up 3.3 %) although the emerging markets (+ 5.4 %) have acted quite differently: India is growing, China is holding steady, but Brazil and Russia are losing ground.