Unilever hands £2.7bn to investors as share buyback hits halfway point

The consumer goods giant is aiming to return around £5.4bn to shareholders.

Unilever updated shareholders on a stock buyback programme on Friday (Tim Ireland/PA)
Unilever updated shareholders on a stock buyback programme on Friday (Tim Ireland/PA)

Unilever has hit the halfway point of a major share buyback programme after returning around 3 billion euro (£2.7 billion) to investors.

The consumer goods giant said it has now completed the first tranche and will launch the second round on Friday in order to purchase around 6 billion euro (£5.4 billion) worth of shares by year-end.

The programme is part of efforts to return after-tax proceeds from the 6.8 billion euro (£5.2 billion) sale of its spreads business to KKR.

Earlier this week, Unilever posted a fall in profits, saying it had been affected by a trucking strike in Brazil, one of the company’s biggest markets.

Turnover decreased 5.0%, which included an adverse impact from currency movements.

Pre-tax profits fell to 3.2 billion euro (£2.9 billion), down from 3.3 billion euro (£3 billion) the year before.

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman (Chris Jackson/PA)

Chief executive Paul Polman said the group’s growth was driven by “strong innovation and continued expansion in future growth markets”.

The company – which is behind well-known household brands such as Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – is still contending with plans to scrap its dual headquarters for a single site in Rotterdam.

Earlier this year, Unilever announced that it had chosen the Netherlands over London for its simplified corporate structure.

It will detail its plans to shareholders at general meetings on October 25 and 26.

Reports suggest Unilever is still working to convince investors of the merits of the change and is at risk of a shareholder revolt over the proposals.

Press Association

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