Unilever's first quarter sales fall 5%
Unilever has reported a 5% slump in first quarter sales, but it also upped its dividend and announced a €6bn (£5.2bn) share buyback programme amid investor opposition to basing its headquarters in Rotterdam.
The consumer goods giant said turnover fell to €12.6bn (£11bn) - down 5.2% compared to the same period in 2017 - but turned attention to underlying sales growth, which is stripped of foreign-exchange movements and came in at 3.4%. That was compared to 2.9% from a year earlier.
Despite the decline in turnover, Unilever - which is behind well-known household brands such as Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry's ice cream - said that it was hiking its quarterly dividend by 8% to just over €0.387 per share.
Chief executive Paul Polman said this was meant to reflect "confidence" in the company's outlook.