Intelligent CXO Issue 23 | Page 10


Unilever announces its full year results before new CEO starts

Unilever , the maker of Ben & Jerry ’ s ice cream and Marmite , has announced its full year results . There was an underlying sales growth of 9 % with prices increasing by 11.3 % and volumes declining 2.1 %. The underlying operating profit was broadly flat at € 9.7 billion with profit margins declining as a result of cost pressures .

Unilever expects 2023 underlying sales growth to be at least in the upper half of the multi-year range of three to five percent , but with only a modest improvement in operating margins due to
continued cost pressures . New CEO , Hein Schumacher , is due to take the reins in July .
Charlie Huggins , Head of Equities at Wealth Club , said : “ A solid end to a tumultuous three years for departing CEO , Alan Jope . All eyes now turn to successor , Hein Schumacher ’ s plans for the underperforming consumer juggernaut .
“ Shareholders will be hoping for revolution not evolution . The fact Unilever ’ s Board has opted for an external hire suggests they are likely to get their wish .
“ The situation facing Schumacher is a bit like an experienced manager who takes over an under-performing football team flirting with the relegation zone , when it should be contending for European places .
“ There is little wrong with Unilever on the surface . It has good brands and a great footprint in emerging markets . The problem has been execution and getting the best out of the assets it owns .
“ Several problems could probably be solved by stopping doing things , rather than seeking to do more .”

Think tank predicts UK will avoid a ‘ technical recession ’

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research ( NIESR ) has predicted that the UK is likely to avoid a ‘ technical recession ’ in 2023 but warns that it will certainly feel like a recession for many , due to GDP growth set to remain close to zero and real personal disposable income having contracted for four consecutive quarters .

The think tank projects that seven million UK households ( one in four ) will be unable to meet in full their planned energy and food bills from their post-tax income in 2023 / 24 , up from around one in five in 2022 / 23 . Middle-income households , will face a hit to their personal disposable income ranging from 7 % to 13 %, reaching up to £ 4,000 in the financial year 2022 / 23 .
The think tank said the labour market remains strong but because of anaemic growth , they think there will be a slow rise in unemployment in the coming year , peaking at around 4.7 % in the third quarter of 2024 .
The authors of the report said that higher interest rates mean higher costs on lending for businesses , increasing the risk of lower business investment . This may affect the longer-term growth and productivity prospects for the UK .
The NIESR added that inflation continues to remain a concern for the 2023 outlook at both the macroeconomic and household
level . Despite falls in the headline figure , measures of ‘ core ’ or underlying inflation suggest that inflationary pressures are still present in the UK economy . The NIESR predicts that inflation will still be above 3 % at the end of 2024 . x
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