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Unilever sales growth weakens in 2014, higher profits, see no market improvement

Unilever sales growth weakens in 2014, higher profits, see no market improvement

AMSTERDAM: The further slowdown in sales growth at Unilever is disappointing, according to analysts at Rabobank, also because the food group that sees slowdown persists in the first half of 2015.

The operating profit margin is not too bad, with a 40 basis points higher EBIT margin in 2014, where the analysts counted on 20 points. This implies a strong increase in the second half by 80 basis points, mainly due to lower overhead costs.

Rabobank still provides only modest earnings growth for Unilever in the short term, but the focus on profitability is measured in the difficult climate.

Organic sales in Europe fell 3.1 per cent, due to lower volumes and prices, with weakness in the spreads division. Analysts maintain their hold recommendation.

The target price is EUR32, 50. The share Unilever is around 10.05 1.8 per cent lower at EUR34, 11 while the AEX index rose by 0.4 per cent.