…posts impressive profits
Unilever Ghana appears to have turned a corner following the release of its year-end 2022 and first-quarter 2023 interim results, where the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) leader posted profit after tax (PAT) of GH¢15.08million and GH¢28.5million, respectively.
This compares favourably to the previous accounting periods, particularly from the post-tax perspective, when the company recorded losses of GH¢160million and GH¢50million in 2019 and 2020, breaking even in 2021 with GH¢196,000.
Commenting on its performance during an interaction with the press, Unilever’s Managing Director, George Owusu-Ansah, said: “It is a testament to the good work the team has done to turn the situation around after what was a very trying period. That this has been accomplished at a time when the effects of the pandemic and the ensuing supply chain disruptions have occurred, in my humble opinion, makes it even more remarkable”.
Unilever’s revenue at the end of 2022 showed a growth of 20 percent from GH¢530million in 2021 to GH¢632million and this was attributed to price increases and enhanced innovations implemented by the company.
A perusal of the contribution by segment showed that the beauty and personal care (BPC) category delivered an underlying sales growth of 27.6 percent, spurred on by personal and oral hygiene products – Pepsodent and Lifebuoy.
While the home care segment stayed flat, its leading product – Key Soap – was made available in smaller packaging. This, Mr. Owusu-Ansah said, was in response to dwindling consumer purchasing power.
The nutrition business group – formerly foods and refreshment category, however, achieved an underlying sales growth of 60.4 percent in the year under consideration.
Liquidity was impacted as cash and its equivalents shrunk, with the deficit growing to GH¢57million in 2022, compared with a deficit position of GH¢26million in 2021.
“This was largely due to our efforts in securing foreign currency to reduce our foreign exchange exposures,” explained the Managing Director.
2023 and beyond
In the first quarter of 2023, the company achieved a revenue of GH¢241.8million, marking a significant year-on-year growth of 60.7 percent compared to GH¢150.5million in the same period of 2022.
This was accompanied by an improvement in gross margin, primarily attributed to the effective utilisation of turnover leverage, strategic pricing decisions, and efficient cost controls.
Looking ahead, the FMCG provider will seek to consolidate its gains, particularly with regards to increasing cash and its equivalents. This will be anchored on the use of technology as well as an emphasis on sustainability even as the company aspires to a 50 percent gender parity by 2025, with its workforce comprising of a minimum of five percent of ‘differently-abled’ persons.
Investors have reacted positively to the results as reflected in the performance of its stock. Unilever kicked off the year with a share price of GH¢3.88. Since then, it has experienced a remarkable growth of 36.1 percent in its valuation, and at the end of the second trading week in May, it was trading at GH¢5.28.
Unilever has secured the fourth spot in year-to-date performance on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). Notably, the stock has experienced a remarkable surge of 32 percent in just the past four weeks, positioning it as the leading performer on the GSE.