Unilever has withdrawn its full-year forecast, feeling it cannot reliably estimate the consequences of the corona pandemic. The FMCG giant's first quarter turnover rose slightly.
Changing consumption patterns
Turnover in the first three months of 2020 stayed almost level at 12.4 billion euros (+ 0,2 %), staying under the 12.77 billion analysts were expecting, Reuters writes. The lockdowns in many countries have considerably changed consumption patterns: Unilever sold more hygiene products like soap and food products for use at home (like Knorr soups), but categories like ice cream (Ben & Jerry's) plummeted.
Unilever now revokes its earlier forecast, seeing that "the unknown severity and duration of the pandemic, as well as the containment measures that maybe adopted in each country, mean that we cannot reliably assess the impact across our markets and our business. We are therefore withdrawing our previous growth and margin outlook for 2020." Earlier, the company put forward a 3 % turnover growth and an improvement of its margins.
Instead, the company will now re-evaluate all costs with this health crisis in mind. The quarterly dividend of 41 cents will be paid out for this first quarter, but it is not sure this also be the case for the following quarters.