Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Unilever stockpiles Magnum ice-cream in case of no-deal Brexit

Unilever stockpiles Magnum ice-cream in case of no-deal Brexit

Jope said it is holding a few weeks' extra stock of products such as Ben and Jerry's ice cream and Magnum bars ahead of the UK's planned departure from the European Union on 29 March.

Chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly said there had been a EUR500,000 increase in inventory.

It follows admissions of Brexit stockpiling from other firms.

Meanwhile, Unilever's new boss started his tenure on a downbeat tone, saying he expects the new year to remain tough and that sales growth will come at the lower end of the firm's target.

The beauty and personal care division delivered underlying sales growth of 3.0% to €5.4bn.

For the full year, Unilever reported turnover of 49.6 billion euros ($57.05 billion), excluding its divested spreads business, and earnings of 3.48 euros per share.

The London-based manufacturer, which is trying to move on from 2018's rejected plan to move its headquarters from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands due to concerns over uncertainty surrounding Brexit, had stated that full-year sales would be at the bottom end of its 3 to 5 percent forecast range.

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He maintained that Unilever is on track for its 2020 goals.

A year ago the company abandoned plans to leave its United Kingdom headquarters and move its primary listing to the Netherlands following a backlash from shareholders.

However, pre-tax profits increased 52% to 12.38 billion euro (£10.84 billion). Argentina is even excluded from Unilever's organic sales growth calculations due to the hyperinflation triggered by the Latin American nation's economic crisis.

The company reported a net profit of 9.8 billion euros, including a 4.3 billion euro gain on the sale of the spreads business.

"Of course we'd prefer the top half of the range, but in the current uncertain market conditions. the lower half is where I expect us to be operating", Jope said.

He said: "Looking forward, accelerating growth will be our number one priority".

'We will capitalise on our strengthened organisation and portfolio, and our digital transformation programme, to bring higher levels of speed and agility. "Strong delivery from our savings programmes will improve productivity and fund our growth ambitions", Jope said.

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