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Unilever : signals likely FTSE exit as Brazil strike hits sales

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06/14/2018 | 01:25pm CET
The company logo for Unilever is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE

LONDON (Reuters) - Unilever is "extremely unlikely" to stay in Britain's FTSE 100 blue chip share index <.FTSE> after the consumer products company moves its headquarters to the Netherlands.

Unilever also said on Thursday that a truckers strike in Brazil would hit sales more than expected, contributing to a 4 percent drop in the company's shares.

The group said the strike in Brazil last month - which prevented all deliveries to factories or stores for 11 days - would reduce second-quarter sales by 150 million euros (132 million pounds).

That translates to about 120 basis points of sales growth for the second quarter and 60 basis points for the half year, Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said.

He said Unilever's overall sales growth for the first half of the year would be below its full-year target range of 3 to 5 percent because of the strike, but it would be in that range for the full year.

Liberum analyst Anubhav Malhotra estimated the strike would cost Unilever 10 to 15 basis points of organic sales growth for the full year and no more than a 1 percent reduction in earnings-per-share consensus.

"The magnitude was a bit higher than some of us would've expected," Malhotra said. Brazil accounts for about 6 percent of Unilever sales.


Unilever said in March that Rotterdam would be its headquarters in a blow to Britain just before Brexit. The group is ditching its dual-headed legal structure to simplify the company and give it greater flexibility when doing mergers and acquisitions.

Pitkethly said that after extensive engagement with listings group FTSE Russell, it was clear its new shares were "extremely unlikely" to be included in the FTSE UK series.

The group has certain listing requirements and analysts had previously predicted that Unilever would not meet them.

"We understand and appreciate that a departure from the FTSE index has negative implications for some investors that are benchmarked to it, however simplification is the right thing for the company and our shareholders as a whole," Pitkethly said.

"We'll be maintaining a premium listing in London and we would hope that those investors who are impacted have got sufficient flexibility in their portfolios to continue to hold Unilever."

Pitkethly said he expected the shares would be likely to have increased weighting in pan-European indices instead.

The company is on track to send out documentation about the move early in the third quarter, ahead of shareholder votes at the end of the third quarter, with the change being completed by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jane Merriman)

By Martinne Geller

Stocks treated in this article : Unilever (NL), Unilever
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
UNILEVER 0.21% 4270 Delayed Quote.3.28%
UNILEVER (NL) 0.15% 48.795 Delayed Quote.3.76%
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Financials (€)
Sales 2018 51 123 M
EBIT 2018 9 282 M
Net income 2018 6 004 M
Debt 2018 21 105 M
Yield 2018 3,19%
P/E ratio 2018 19,91
P/E ratio 2019 20,99
EV / Sales 2018 3,14x
EV / Sales 2019 3,17x
Capitalization 140 B
Duration : Period :
Unilever Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
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Technical analysis trends UNILEVER
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 14
Average target price 50,1 €
Spread / Average Target 3,9%
EPS Revisions
Paulus Gerardus J. Polman Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Marijn E. Dekkers Chairman
Graeme David Pitkethly Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
David Blanchard Chief Research & Development Officer
May Lung Cha Independent Non-Executive Director
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
UNILEVER3.28%160 482
UNILEVER (NL)3.76%160 482
UNILEVER NV (ADR)-1.01%157 908