Unilever Said to Be Buying Mayo Upstart After Spurning Kraft

Unilever's stormy year, which included the failed acquisition attempt by KraftHeinz - today released its first quarterly report of 2017 revealing steady sales growth. Pricing increased by 3 percent in the quarter, while volume fell 0.1 percent, both measures beating analyst estimates.

"Unilever have been pushed by the Kraft Heinz approach into a more radical pace and scale of change than they had originally chosen for themselves", Steve Clayton, fund manager of the HL Select equity funds, wrote in an analyst note.

Nestle, the world's largest packaged food company, posted sales growth of only 2.3 percent. The shares rose as much as 1.3percent in early trading in Amsterdam. Growth accelerated from 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Unilever's turnover rose 6.1 percent to 13.3 billion euros ($14 billion) in the first quarter, including a foreign exchange boost of 2.4 percent. In contrast, growth slowed to a near halt in the Americas region, hurt by declines in United States confectionery and pet care.Unilever cited gains in its home- and personal-care businesses, while sales were unchanged in the food division.

As of 09:20 BST, Unilever's share price had added 1.13 percent to 3,982.00p, outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped marginally into the red and now standing 0.05 percent lower at 7,110.85 points.




Excluding the margarine and spreads business, which is to be sold, Unilever's group underlying sales would have risen 3.4 percent.

Over the past four years, Kensington's said it has seen strong growth.

The company raised its dividend by 12%, compared to a 6% boost in the prior year.

The refreshment business, home to the Ben & Jerry's and Magnum ice cream brands, was the best performer with 5.4% sales gains.

After almost becoming one of the largest takeover targets in history, Unilever delivered growth ahead of its markets in what CEO Paul Polman called a "solid start" to the year. The deal was announced about two months after Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club, a subscription toiletry-delivery business that's popular with millennials.

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