Why Unilever Is Up 38% During the Last 12 Months

LONDON -- Unilever  (LSE: ULVR  ) (NYSE: UL  ) has advanced 38% to 2,736 pence during the last 12 months, making the share one of the best performers in the FTSE 100.

The company, which is the force behind 400 popular brands, including Lynx deodorant,Cornetto ice cream, and Domestos bleach, seems to have impressed investors with a series of encouraging statements.

During July, Unilever announced half-year results for 2012 that highlighted an 11.5% rise in turnover, bringing the figure to 25.4 billion euros, as well as an increase in core earnings per share of 6%, to 0.76 euros. However, net profit was also up, at 2.4 billion euros, but by a smaller rate of 1%.

During October, Unilever's third-quarter statement revealed turnover had climbed by 10% to 13 billion euros and underlying volume growth was ahead of the market at 3.4%. Also revealed in the statement was the company's underlying sales growth of 5.9%.

Then in January, Unilever disclosed full-year results that revealed core earnings per share up by 11% to 1.57 euros. The company also revealed fourth-quarter underlying sales growth of 8% and boasted free cash flow had reached 4.3 billion euros.

Paul Polman, Unilever's chief executive, said at the time:

We continue to make good progress in transforming Unilever into a sustainable growth company. We have reported another quarter of good quality, profitable growth ahead of our markets. All categories and all geographies grew with a good overall balance between volume and price. Emerging markets again contributed double-digit growth helping us exceed 50 billion euro turnover, an important milestone in our journey to double the size of Unilever from 40 [billion] to 80 billion euros while reducing our environmental impact. 

 Polman also highlighted the introduction of Magnum and Sunsilk to Unilever's roster of 1-billion-euro brands, which now stand at 14.

Unilever's first-quarter update for 2013 will be published on April 25, which may reveal further positive news that can encourage investors.

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