Global FMCG major Unilever has recovered from the impact of demonetisation on its sales in the Indian market although it continues to struggle in markets such as Brazil due to economic crisis. The Anglo-Dutch company has posted an increase of 6.1 per cent in its turnover to 13.3 billion euro in the first quarter of 2017 in the challenging market conditions.
“Growth in India recovered from the uncertainty experienced due to the removal of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016, while Brazil continued to be adversely impacted by the economic crisis. Markets in Europe and North America declined in the first quarter,” Unilever said in the post result statement.
However, it added: “Market conditions remained challenging. In the markets in which we operate growth was around 2 per cent with negative volumes.” On November 8 last year, the Modi government announced the demonetisation of higher value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, leading to cash shortages.
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In the Asia and AMET/RUB regions, Unilever sales growth improved to 6.9 per cent as “pricing has progressively increased over the past four quarters in response to rising commodity costs, particularly in Asia”, the company said. Turkey delivered double-digit growth, while growth in Africa and Russia was entirely driven by price as a result of substantial currency devaluations. Sales in China were modestly higher with rapid growth in e-commerce.
Unilever 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.” On January 26, while releasing the results of the October-December period and the entire 2016, the company said that its growth in India was “below historic levels”.
“In India, growth was below historic levels, particularly in the last quarter when demand was adversely impacted by the removal of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes,” Unilever had said.