Unilever said that its total revenue for the first quarter of the year rose to EUR13.3 billion, representing a 6% year on year growth.
Sales from emerging markets such as Nigeria where the company said it is exiting its spreads business rose by 5.3% and volume up 0.8%.
Commenting on the result, CEO Paul Polman said “The first quarter shows growth once more ahead of our markets. This reflects our continued investment in both innovations and brand support, and reconfirms the strength of our long term sustainable compounding growth model.
“The change programme ‘Connected for Growth’, which we started implementing in the autumn last year, is clearly bearing fruit and is making Unilever more agile and closer to the local markets, unlocking both further growth and margin.
“The actions we are taking keep us on track for another year of underlying sales growth ahead of our markets, in the 3–5% range. We also expect an improvement in underlying operating margin this year of at least 80 basis points and strong cash flow. We are raising the dividend by 12%, reflecting the confidence in our outlook.”
Unilever Nigeria has not disclosed who will be buying the spreads business and when it seeks to finalise the deal. The company competes with Nestle and other smaller competitors in savoury and other personal care category in Nigeria.