Unilever reported lower-than-expected sales growth in the fourth quarter, owing to weakness in Latin American markets.
The consumer goods company’s underlying sales increased +2.9% year-over-year in the quarter , compared to consensus estimate of +3.5%. According to Unilever, currency devaluations and rising commodity costs were headwinds to demand. The company indicated that hyperinflation in Argentina led to a more than 50 percent spike in prices - which shrunk demand volume by more than -20%. In developed markets, underlying sales in grew only +0.4% in the quarter.
For the full year 2018, Unilever had a 3.1% increase in underlying sales, which was in line with expectations. Underlying earnings were 2.36 euros per share for the year, exceeding analysts’ estimates of 2.31 per share. Net profit in full-year was 9.8 billion euros ($11.21 billion), compared to 6.5 billion euros in 2017.