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Unilever margin undermined by inflating costs

Increased sales but profit margins fell due to rising cost of packaging and raw materials.
Unilever margin undermined by inflating costs
  • Underlying earnings per share down 2 per cent.
  • Free cash flow down to €2.4 billion, compared to €2.9 billion in the first half of 2020.

Unilever (ULVR) has a tricky inflation tight rope to walk over the next year. Increases in raw material, packaging and distribution costs have contributed to a drop in underlying operating margin by 100 basis points to 18.8 per cent compared to the first half of last year. With inflation unlikely to disappear overnight, it now needs to work out how much of the price increases it can pass on to consumers while still maintaining positive sales volume growth. It’s going to be a big test of its customers’ brand loyalty, traditionally a major strength of the group.

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