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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Unilever PLC    ULVR   GB00B10RZP78

UNILEVER PLC

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Croda hit by trade war, Chinese laws as coronavirus threatens supply chains

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02/25/2020 | 05:11am EST

Croda's annual profit was hurt by a hit to demand as the trade war between Beijing and Washington persisted and China attempted to modernise "surrogate sales" in what its top boss called the harshest trading environment in a decade.

The chemicals group, which makes ingredients for cosmetics companies, also warned of disruption to customer and consumer demand from the coronavirus outbreak in China after it reopened sales offices and two production units with more limited operations than usual.

Croda's shares were 2.8% lower at 4,782 pence at the bottom of London's bluechip index.

The virus emerged in China and is now spreading in Europe and the Middle East, with companies facing billion of dollars in losses.

Croda buys wool grease or lanolin - a wax used in topical creams - from China, but Chief Executive Officer Steve Foots said Croda also buys wool grease from other countries.

"The bigger issues is around the supply chain into our customer's factories," Foots said, adding that the company was talking to is customers and their suppliers.

French cosmetics company L'Oreal, a Croda customer, said this month that the spread of the virus would have an impact on demand in the coming weeks.

Foots, however, said there were encouraging signs, with the movement of product mobilising within China, people going back to work and shipping channels reopening.

China represents 6% of Croda's core business sales, 2% of production and is a limited part of its raw material supply chain, it said.

Croda, which also counts Unilever Plc and Procter & Gamble Co among its customers, reported a 4.9% fall in pretax profit to 302.3 million pounds in the year ended Dec. 31.

"The trade war between the U.S. and China significantly impacted demand for Croda products ... sales were adversely impacted by significant ingredient destocking in the summer months as customers adjusted inventory to the lower than expected demand," Croda said.

New legislation restricted "Daigou" sales or surrogate sales, and local Chinese customers were hurt by a combination of trade uncertainty and tariffs, internet selling regulation and multinational competition, the company added.

So-called Daigou selling is where Chinese consumers who visit Japan or South Korea on holiday buy Japanese or Korean cosmetics products to sell when they get back to China often on social media sites.

Croda said in July demand has slowed down because companies were not allowed to sell until they registered. The fourth quarter, however, saw a return to modest growth with recovery in North America and Asia.

By Noor Zainab Hussain

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CRODA INTERNATIONAL PLC -3.21% 4802 Delayed Quote.-3.91%
L'ORÉAL -1.29% 252.7 Real-time Quote.-3.03%
UNILEVER PLC -2.02% 4392.5 Delayed Quote.3.05%
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Financials (EUR)
Sales 2020 54 074 M
EBIT 2020 10 575 M
Net income 2020 6 655 M
Debt 2020 23 398 M
Yield 2020 3,32%
P/E ratio 2020 20,9x
P/E ratio 2021 19,2x
EV / Sales2020 2,93x
EV / Sales2021 2,83x
Capitalization 135 B
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 26
Average target price 55,14  €
Last Close Price 52,34  €
Spread / Highest target 35,7%
Spread / Average Target 5,34%
Spread / Lowest Target -23,6%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Alan Jope Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Marijn E. Dekkers Chairman
Nitin Paranjpe Chief Operating Officer
Graeme David Pitkethly Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Richard Slater Chief Research & Development Officer
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
UNILEVER PLC3.05%146 663
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HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LIMITED-1.50%66 545
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY10.79%63 631