Shares in FTSE 100 consumer goods giant Unilever (LON:ULVR) have dropped by 3.74% to 4,174p (as of 11:30 GMT) after reporting a 4.6% decline in operating profits for the year ended 31st December. Operating margins were down by 40 basis points and turnover was 2.4% below 2019.
CEO Alan Jope commented: “In a volatile and unpredictable year, we have demonstrated Unilever’s resilience and agility through the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like to thank the Unilever team, whose dedication and hard work has delivered a strong set of results under the most difficult of circumstances.
Early in the year, we refocused the business on competitive growth, and the delivery of profit and cash as the best way to maximise value. We have delivered a step change in operational excellence through our focus on the fundamentals of growth. As a result, we are winning market share in over 60% of our business in the last quarter, on the basis of measurable markets. The business also generated underlying operating profit of €9.4 billion and free cash flow of €7.7 billion, an increase of €1.5 billion.
We progressed our strategic agenda, building on our existing sustainability commitments with ambitious new targets and actions, most recently with our plans to help build a more equitable and inclusive society. We completed the unification of our legal structure under a single parent company and we continue to work on separating out the tea business as we evolve our portfolio.
Today we are setting out our plans to drive long term growth through the strategic choices we are making and outlining our multi-year financial framework. While volatility and unpredictability will continue throughout 2021, we begin the year in good shape and are confident in our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment“.