SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Greg Ness, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Unilever: 2014 First Half Year Results

Solid Growth in Challenging Markets

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM and ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS -- (Marketwired) -- 07/24/14 -- Unilever (NYSE:UL)(NYSE:UN)(LSE: ULVR) -

First half highlights


--  Underlying sales growth 3.7% with emerging markets up 6.6%
--  Underlying volume growth 1.9% and price up 1.7%
--  Turnover decreased by 5.5% to EUR24.1 billion with currency down (8.5)%
--  Core operating margin stable at 14.0% at current exchange rates, up
    30bps at constant exchange rates
--  Operating profit up 13% reflecting profits on disposal
--  Core earnings per share up 2% to EUR0.78

Second quarter highlights


--  Underlying sales growth 3.8% with underlying volume growth 1.9% and
    price up 1.9%

Paul Polman: Chief Executive Officer statement

"The first half again shows consistent top and bottom line progress despite significant headwinds. Our markets have been challenging and we have experienced a further slow-down in the emerging countries whilst developed markets are not yet picking up.

We continued to grow ahead of our markets driven by strong innovations such as Ben & Jerry's Cores, compressed deodorants in Europe, REGENERATE Enamel Science in oral and Skip Dual Action capsules. At the same time we continue to invest for the long term with our programme to take our brands into new countries with the launches of Lifebuoy in China, Omo in Arabia and Clear in Japan.

We made further progress in strengthening our portfolio with the acquisition of a majority stake in Qinyuan, the Chinese water purification business, and the disposals of the Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauces brands in the United States and, more recently, the Slim.Fast business.

In a tougher cost environment, project Half is on track and is enabling us to drive cost savings and simultaneously increase organisational agility.

We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow."


============================================================================
Key Financials (unaudited)
Current Rates                                            First Half 2014
============================================================================
Underlying Sales Growth ((i))                                 3.7%
============================================================================
Turnover                                               EUR24.1bn       -5.5%
Operating Profit                                        EUR4.4bn        +13%
Net Profit                                              EUR3.0bn        +12%
Core earnings per share ((i))                            EUR0.78         +2%
Diluted earnings per share                               EUR0.97        +17%
============================================================================
Quarterly dividend payable in September 2014      EUR0.285 per share
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

((i)) Underlying sales growth and core earnings per share are non-GAAP measures (see pages 6 and 7). 24 July 2014

OPERATIONAL REVIEW: CATEGORIES


               =============================================================
                  Second Quarter 2014             First Half 2014
               =============================================================
                                                                  Change in
                                                                       core
                                                                  operating
(unaudited)     Turnover  USG  UVG  UPG Turnover  USG   UVG   UPG    margin
============================================================================
                   EURbn    %    %    %    EURbn    %     %     %       bps
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Unilever Total      12.7  3.8  1.9  1.9     24.1  3.7   1.9   1.7         0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Personal Care        4.4  4.5  2.2  2.2      8.6  4.5   2.4   2.0       110
Foods                3.1  0.7  0.1  0.5      6.1 (0.5) (0.9)  0.4        50
Refreshment          2.9  4.5  3.1  1.4      4.9  5.1   3.3   1.7      (100)
Home Care            2.3  6.2  2.5  3.5      4.5  6.8   3.7   3.0      (150)
============================================================================

Our markets: Market growth continued to slow in emerging countries, particularly in Asia, as macro-economic pressures weighed on consumer spending in our categories. Developed markets remained weak with little sign of any recovery in North America or Europe.

Unilever performance: We delivered another quarter of growth ahead of our markets. Emerging markets grew 6.6% with price up 4.4% and volume growth of 2.1%. Developed markets grew by 0.3% in the second quarter, with positive volume growth partially offset by declining price. All categories grew with good performances from Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment.

Gross margin for the half year increased by 10bps to 41.5% at constant exchange rates primarily due to our focus on higher margin products and continued discipline around savings programmes which more than offset higher commodity costs in local currencies in emerging markets. Brand and marketing investment was up by 10bps. Overheads improved by 30bps and core operating margin was up 30bps in constant exchange rates. In current exchange rates, core operating margin was flat at 14.0% impacted by currency headwinds. Core operating profit was down by EUR209 million at EUR3.4 billion after a negative currency impact of EUR413 million. Core earnings per share was up 2% at EUR0.78.

Personal Care

Personal Care continued to grow ahead of slowing markets underpinned by a strong innovation programme. Deodorants saw the continued success of the compressed aerosol range in Europe, good growth for Rexona with the successful Do:More campaign, the positive impact of new communication behind Dove Invisible Dry and the introduction of new packaging for Axe. In oral care we introduced a new brand, REGENERATE Enamel Science, in the United Kingdom. This is a premium proposition and is the first toothpaste and serum system that regenerates enamel with exactly the same mineral which makes up tooth enamel.

In hair Clear has been successfully introduced in Japan and re-launched in key markets such as Brazil and China. TRESemme benefited from the success of the 7 Day Keratin Smooth range, and Dove Oxygen Moisture made good progress in the United States. Skin cleansing saw continued strong growth for Lifebuoy reflecting the success of the proposition to protect against 10 infection causing germs and the introduction of the brand in China. Dove continued to deliver broad-based growth and Lux benefited from the re-launch in China and South East Asia. In skin care Fair & Lovely delivered strong growth and the Dove Purely Pampering range was extended into nourishing body oil.

Core operating margin in the first half was up 110bps, with higher gross margin driven by margin accretive innovation and efficiencies in brand and marketing investments. Core operating profit was broadly unchanged at EUR1,532 million.

Foods

Foods growth in the second quarter reflected the impact of the late Easter and improved market shares but the markets in North America and Europe remained challenging whilst emerging markets continued to grow in mid single digits.

Savoury grew on the back of the 'What's for dinner tonight?' market development campaign and good progress in emerging markets. Dressings growth stepped up and we saw good performances from Hellmann's with Olive Oil in the United States and the extension of the new squeezy packaging in Brazil. Whilst we gained share in margarine, spreads performance reflected the decline of the market. We continued to improve the taste of our products, to roll out the successful 'It takes a village' campaign for Pro.Activ and to introduce blends of vegetable oil and butter, such as Gold by Flora and Bertolli with Butter in the United Kingdom, to meet a broader range of consumer taste preferences.

Core operating margin was up 50bps in the first half with higher gross margin partially offset by higher brand and marketing investment. Core operating profit was down at EUR1,097 million, primarily due to currency.

Refreshment

Ice cream performed strongly in the quarter. Magnum benefited from a strong programme of activities including its 25th anniversary, the launch of Magnum Infinity in the United States and Indonesia, and the launch of Magnum Mini in Brazil. Ben & Jerry's grew well supported by innovations such as Cores and the introduction of a mini cup format in Japan whilst Cornetto responded well to re-launches in North Asia and Europe.

The performance of leaf tea was mixed. We saw good growth in India and Turkey, and also in the United States driven by the success of Lipton K-Cups® and new liquid concentrate. Sales in Russia and Saudi Arabia were soft. Ades soy drink continued to recover from the impact of last year's product recall in Brazil.

Core operating margin was down 100bps with lower gross margin as a result of pricing and savings programmes lagging higher commodity costs. This together with adverse currency resulted in core operating profit of EUR509 million.

Home Care

Laundry growth remained competitive and well-balanced between volume and price. Following a good response to the launch in France under the Skip brand, Persil Dual Action capsules were launched in the United Kingdom. Omo was re-introduced in Saudi Arabia and Skip Small & Mighty liquids were launched in South Africa. In household care we grew ahead of slowing markets. Cif multi-purpose sprays and Domestos Zero Stain toilet cleaner were launched in Vietnam and Indonesia and Domestos Ultra Power was launched in Russia.

Core operating margin was down 150bps driven by lower gross margin reflecting brand extensions into new markets, the tough competitive environment and higher commodity costs. This together with adverse currency resulted in core operating profit of EUR229 million.

OPERATIONAL REVIEW: GEOGRAPHICAL AREA



              ==============================================================
                 Second Quarter 2014              First Half 2014
              ==============================================================
                                                                  Change in
                                                                       core
                                                                  operating
(unaudited)    Turnover  USG   UVG  UPG Turnover  USG   UVG  UPG     margin
============================================================================
                  EURbn    %     %    %    EURbn    %     %    %        Bps
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Unilever Total     12.7  3.8   1.9  1.9     24.1  3.7   1.9  1.7          0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Asia/AMET/RUB       5.1  6.3   3.8  2.3      9.8  6.1   3.8  2.2          0
The Americas        4.0  4.8   0.3  4.5      7.6  4.3   0.4  3.9        (40)
Europe              3.6 (0.8)  1.1 (1.9)     6.7 (0.4)  1.1 (1.5)        40
============================================================================

Asia/AMET/RUB

Sales growth in the quarter was equally driven by volume and price growth. We saw strong performances in Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, Japan and South Africa. Whilst slower growth in China reflected weaker markets, the acquired Qinyuan water purification business has started well.

Core operating margin in the first half was stable with higher gross margin offset by higher brand and marketing investment.

The Americas

North America grew by 0.4% in the quarter with positive volume growth partially offset by negative price growth. Personal Care, Refreshments and dressings experienced healthy growth. Following the respective strategic reviews, the disposal of the Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauces brands in the United States was completed during the quarter and the disposal of Slim.Fast was announced early in July. Latin America delivered another quarter of strong growth but economic conditions remain difficult and the growth was driven by pricing. All categories grew and within Refreshment we saw a strong ice cream performance.

Core operating margin was down 40bps due to a lower gross margin in Latin America where price increases have lagged higher commodity costs.

Europe

Europe declined by (0.8%) in the quarter with negative price growth partially offset by volume growth which was stable at 1.1%. We saw growth in the United Kingdom, France and the Nordic countries and continued signs of recovery in Spain and Greece. Central Europe was however weak, mainly due to challenging market conditions in Poland.

Core operating margin was up 40bps driven by higher gross margin and lower brand and marketing investment.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - FIRST HALF 2014

Finance costs and tax

The cost of financing net borrowings in the first half 2014 was EUR212 million versus EUR215 million in 2013. The average level of net debt increased whilst interest rate movements were marginally favourable: the average interest rate on borrowings was 3.6% excluding one-off charges and the average return on cash deposits was 4.0%. Pensions financing was a charge of EUR47 million versus a charge of EUR71 million in the prior year.

The effective tax rate was 29.4%, higher than 27.1% in 2013 due to the impact of business disposals. The effective tax rate on core earnings was 23.9%. Our longer term expectation for the tax rate remains around 26%.

Joint ventures, associates and other income from non-current investments

Net profit from joint ventures and associates, together with other income from non-current investments contributed EUR98 million compared with EUR53 million in 2013. The improvement was due to increased profits from the Lipton ready-to-drink tea joint ventures and one-off items in non-current investments.

Earnings per share

Core earnings per share in the first half was up 2% to EUR0.78. This improvement was driven by the growth in constant currency core operating profit and a lower tax charge partially offset by negative foreign exchange movements. In constant exchange rates, core earnings per share increased by 14%. This measure excludes the impact of business disposals, acquisition and disposal related costs, impairments and other one-off items.

On 19 May 2014 Unilever purchased for GBP 715 million the rights left in trusts by the first Viscount Leverhulme which were convertible in 2038 into 70,875,000 Unilever PLC ordinary shares. This increased diluted earnings per share metrics as the dilutive effect of these shares does not impact the calculation of weighted average shares from the date of the transaction.

Diluted earnings per share for the first half was up 17% at EUR0.97. This included the profit on disposal of the Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauces brands in the United States.

Pensions

The pension liability net of assets was EUR2.5 billion at the end of June 2014 versus EUR2.0 billion as at 31 December 2013. The increase in the net pension deficit reflects the impact of higher liabilities due to lower discount rates partially offset by strong investment performance and cash contributions.

Disposals

Business disposals contributed EUR1.4 billion to non-core profits versus EUR371 million in the first half 2013. This primarily related to the disposal of the Ragu and Bertolli pasta sauces brands in the United States. The decision to dispose of the Slim.Fast business has been taken in the first half and an impairment charge of EUR318 million, accompanied by a tax credit of EUR117 million, has been recognised on the reclassification of the assets to held for sale. The disposal was completed in July.

Free cash flow

Free cash flow was EUR0.8 billion versus EUR1.3 billion in 2013. The reduction is primarily due to an adverse currency impact and phasing of capital expenditure.

Net debt

Closing net debt was EUR9.3 billion versus EUR8.5 billion as at 31 December 2013 primarily due to the seasonal outflow of working capital.

Finance and liquidity

On 19 March 2014 Unilever announced the issuance of our first ever green sustainability bond. The GBP 250 million 2% fixed rate notes are due 19 December 2018. The proceeds will be deployed on projects which support achievement of the goals of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

COMPETITION INVESTIGATIONS

As previously disclosed, along with other consumer products companies and retail customers, Unilever is involved in a number of ongoing investigations by national competition authorities. These proceedings and investigations are at various stages and concern a variety of product markets. Where appropriate, provisions are made and contingent liabilities disclosed in relation to such matters.

Ongoing compliance with competition laws is of key importance to Unilever. It is Unilever's policy to co-operate fully with competition authorities whenever questions or issues arise. In addition the Group continues to reinforce and enhance its internal competition law training and compliance programme on an ongoing basis.

PRINCIPAL RISK FACTORS

On pages 34 to 39 of our 2013 Report and Accounts we set out our assessment of the principal risk issues that would face the business through 2014 under the headings: brand preference; portfolio management; sustainability; customer relationships; talent; supply chain; safe and high quality products; systems and information; business transformation; external economic and political risks, and natural disasters; treasury and pensions; ethical; legal and regulatory. In our view, the nature and potential impact of such risks remain essentially unchanged as regards our performance over the second half of 2014.

OTHER INFORMATION

This document represents Unilever's half-yearly report for the purposes of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules (DTR) issued by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (DTR 4.2) and the Dutch Act on Financial Supervision, section 5:25d (8)/(9) (Half-yearly financial reports). In this context: (i) the condensed set of financial statements can be found on pages 9 to 19; (ii) pages 2 to 8 comprise the interim management report; and (iii) the Directors' responsibility statement can be found on page 20. No material related parties transactions have taken place in the first six months of the year.

NON-GAAP MEASURES

In our financial reporting we use certain measures that are not recognised under IFRS or other generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). We do this because we believe that these measures are useful to investors and other users of our financial statements in helping them to understand underlying business performance. Wherever we use such measures, we make clear that these are not intended as a substitute for recognised GAAP measures. Wherever appropriate and practical, we provide reconciliations to relevant GAAP measures. Unilever uses 'constant rate' 'underlying' and 'core' measures primarily for internal performance analysis and targeting purposes. The non-GAAP measures which we apply in our reporting are set out below.

Underlying sales growth (USG)

"Underlying Sales Growth" or "USG" refers to the increase in turnover for the period, excluding any change in turnover resulting from acquisitions, disposals and changes in currency. Acquisitions and disposals are excluded from USG for a period of 12 calendar months from the applicable closing date. Turnover from acquired brands that are launched in countries where they were not previously sold is included in USG as such turnover is more attributable to our existing sales and distribution network than the acquisition itself. The reconciliation of USG to changes in the GAAP measure turnover is provided in notes 3 and 4.

Underlying volume growth (UVG)

"Underlying Volume Growth" or "UVG" is part of USG and means, for the applicable period, the increase in turnover in such period calculated as the sum of (1) the increase in turnover attributable to the volume of products sold; and (2) the increase in turnover attributable to the composition of products sold during such period. UVG therefore excludes any impact to USG due to changes in prices. The relationship between the two measures is set out in notes 3 and 4.

Free cash flow (FCF)

Within the Unilever Group, free cash flow (FCF) is defined as cash flow from operating activities, less income taxes paid, net capital expenditures and net interest payments and preference dividends paid. It does not represent residual cash flows entirely available for discretionary purposes; for example, the repayment of principal amounts borrowed is not deducted from FCF. Free cash flow reflects an additional way of viewing our liquidity that we believe is useful to investors because it represents cash flows that could be used for distribution of dividends, repayment of debt or to fund our strategic initiatives, including acquisitions, if any.

The reconciliation of FCF to net profit is as follows:


                                                            ================
EUR million                                                    First Half
(unaudited)                                                    2014    2013
============================================================================
Net profit                                                    2,995   2,682
Taxation                                                      1,223     977
Share of net profit of joint ventures/associates and other
 income from non-current investments                            (98)    (53)
Net finance costs                                               259     286
                                                            ================
Operating Profit                                              4,379   3,892
                                                            ================
Depreciation, amortisation and impairment                       842     583
Changes in working capital                                   (1,089) (1,004)
Pensions and similar obligations less payments                 (195)   (246)
Provisions less payments                                         84      43
Elimination of (profits)/losses on disposals                 (1,421)   (372)
Non-cash charge for share-based payments                        118     121
Other adjustments                                                20     (18)
                                                            ================
Cash flow from operating activities                           2,738   2,999
                                                            ================
Income tax paid                                                (994)   (894)
Net capital expenditure                                        (789)   (632)
Net interest and preference dividends paid                     (197)   (173)
============================================================================
Free cash flow                                                  758   1,300
============================================================================
Net cash flow (used in)/from investing activities               895    (798)
Net cash flow (used in)/from financing activities            (1,494)   (354)
============================================================================

Core operating profit (COP), core operating margin (COM) and non-core items

COP and COM means operating profit and operating margin, respectively, before the impact of business disposals, acquisition and disposal related costs, impairments and other one-off items, which we collectively term non-core items, due to their nature and frequency of occurrence. The reconciliation of core operating profit to operating profit is as follows:


                                                            ================
EUR million                                                    First Half
(unaudited)                                                    2014    2013
============================================================================
Operating profit                                              4,379   3,892
Non-core items (see note 2)                                  (1,012)   (316)

============================================================================
Core operating profit                                         3,367   3,576
============================================================================
Turnover                                                     24,098  25,500
Operating margin (%)                                           18.2    15.3
Core operating margin (%)                                      14.0    14.0
============================================================================

Core EPS

The Group also refers to core earnings per share (core EPS). In calculating core earnings, net profit attributable to shareholders' equity is adjusted to eliminate the post tax impact of non-core items. Refer to note 2 on page 13 for reconciliation of core earnings to net profit attributable to shareholders' equity.

Net debt

Net debt is defined as the excess of total financial liabilities, excluding trade and other payables, over cash, cash equivalents and current financial assets, excluding trade and other receivables. It is a measure that provides valuable additional information on the summary presentation of the Group's net financial liabilities and is a measure in common use elsewhere.

The reconciliation of net debt to the GAAP measure total financial liabilities is as follows:


                                         ===================================
                                               As at        As at     As at
EUR million                                  30 June  31 December   30 June
(unaudited)                                     2014         2013      2013
============================================================================
Total financial liabilities                  (13,436)     (11,501)  (15,907)
  Current financial liabilities:
    Liabilities related to acquisition of
     non-controlling interests(a)                  -            -    (4,034)
    Other current financial liabilities       (5,705)      (4,010)   (5,065)
    Non-current financial liabilities         (7,731)      (7,491)   (6,808)
Cash and cash equivalents as per balance
 sheet                                         3,419        2,285     3,467
  Cash and cash equivalents as per cash
   flow statement                              3,090        2,044     3,204
  Add bank overdrafts deducted therein           329          241       263
Other financial assets                           744          760       804
============================================================================
Net debt                                      (9,273)      (8,456)  (11,636)
============================================================================

(a) Included in liabilities related to acquisition of non-controlling interests as at 30 June 2013 is EUR3,754 million relating to acquisition of shares in Hindustan Unilever and other non-controlling interests totalling EUR280 million.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as 'will', 'aim', 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'looks', 'believes', 'vision', or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Unilever group (the "Group"). They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance.

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Among other risks and uncertainties, the material or principal factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are: Unilever's global brands not meeting consumer preferences; Unilever's ability to innovate and remain competitive; Unilever's investment choices in its portfolio management; inability to find sustainable solutions to support long-term growth; customer relationships; the recruitment and retention of talented employees; disruptions in our supply chain; the cost of raw materials and commodities; the production of safe and high quality products; secure and reliable IT infrastructure; successful execution of acquisitions, divestitures and business transformation projects; economic and political risks and natural disasters; financial risks; failure to meet high ethical standards; and managing regulatory, tax and legal matters. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group's filings with the London Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Group's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2013 and Annual Report and Accounts 2013. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

ENQUIRIES


Media: Media Relations Team            Investors: Investor Relations Team
UK +44 20 7823 5354                    +44 20 7822 6830
[email protected]           [email protected]
NL +31 6 1137 5464
[email protected]

There will be a web cast of the results presentation available at:www.unilever.com/ourcompany/investorcentre/results/quarterlyresults/default.asp

The web cast can also be viewed from the Unilever Investor Relations app which you can download from:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unilever-investor-centre-app/id483403509?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Click on, or paste the following link into your web browser, to view the associated PDF document.http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/1752N_1-2014-7-23.pdf

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