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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Risk of modest slowdown in India, says Unilever

PTI  Hyderabad, April 05, 2013
First Published: 17:02 IST(5/4/2013) | Last Updated: 17:06 IST(5/4/2013)

FMCG giant Unilever has said there is a risk of modest slowdown in key emerging markets such as India, even as consumer demand here remains robust.

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In 2012, more than half of Unilever's turnover came from emerging markets including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, China, Mexico and Russia, according to its latest annual report filed with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"Market conditions for our business were challenging in 2012 and we do not anticipate this changing significantly in 2013. Economic pressures are expected to continue. We expect consumer markets to remain flat to slightly down in developed markets," Unilever said in the annual report filed last month.

In emerging markets consumer demand remains robust but there is "nonetheless the risk of modest slowdown" in key markets such as China, India and Brazil, it added.

"Currency markets remain volatile and uncertain. Although we have seen rather more stable conditions in key commodity markets in 2012 we remain watchful for further periods of volatility in 2013," Unilever said.

The FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) giant said it portfolio strategy defines the role of its categories and the 2013 outlook fully reflects the choices made.

"This gives us confidence that Unilever is fit to win, whatever the circumstances," it added.

Unilever's global turnover increased by 10.5% to 51.3 billion euro in 2012 with emerging markets representing 55% of it.

Listing out its achievements in India, Unilever said almost 80,000 entrepreneurs, including 48,000 women, in over 135,000 villages across the country have now joined Hindustan Unilever's rural selling operation -- Shakti.

Led by Unilever PLC, the promoter group of Hindustan Unilever controlled 52.49 stake as on December 2012.

The programme has been improved in 2012 by part funding mobile phones for a number of these sales people, equipping them with a simple application to drive sales.

This "low cost but very effective mobile technology" helps them sell the right products, saving time during sales calls while increasing sales and earnings, Unilever report said.


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