Alternative Investment Report

Unilever is not seeing signs of ‘peak inflation’ in the U.S.

Consumer prices hinted at “peak inflation” as they eased to 8.5% in July (read more). Still, Alan Jope – the Chief Executive of Unilever plc (LON: ULVR) has a different outlook.

Highlights from CEO Jope’s interview on CNBC

This evening on CNBC’s “Closing Bell”, Jope said the multinational consumer goods company was yet to see signs that inflation had indeed peaked in the United States.

Commodities we use across agricultural and petrochemical-derived raw materials, paper and board, freight distribution, logistics – we’re not seeing an easing off in our landed costs. So, any early optimism that inflation has peaked is misplaced.

Jope expects the inflationary pressures to still be with us in the coming months. Consequently, the London-headquartered firm, he confirmed, was still raising prices sequentially.

In late July, Unilever reported an underlying sales growth of 8.8% for its fiscal second quarter.

Consumer is keeping strong in the face of inflation

On the bright side, though, the Chief Executive is convinced that Unilever plc is well-positioned to withstand the macro headwinds, especially since the consumer is keeping strong. He added:

We’re seeing continued strength in Asia. Latin America and Africa continue, in very difficult circumstances to deliver strong growth. We’ve seen the U.S. to be fairly resilient. Europe’s softer but by and large, there’s a limited down trading.

He dubbed the company “undervalued” and said Unilever was working with Nelsen Peltz (activist investor it recently named to its board here) to unlock the trapped value.

It might be an opportunity to buy Unilever shares down 20% for the year at present considering the Wall Street sees upside to $50.27 on average.

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