BUSINESS LIVE: Unilever margins under pressure; AstraZeneca sales lifted on Covid drug; FCA shamed over LV takeover farce
Unilever has forecast higher sales but lower margins in 2022 as it grapples with soaring inflation, with the firm ruling out big acquisitions following recent investor criticism of its failed pursuit of GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health business.
Fourth quarter underlying sales rose by 4.9 per cent, beating analyst forecasts of 3.8 per cent, as full-year sales growth came in at its strongest in nine years at 4.5 per cent.
AstraZeneca has forecast higher 2022 sales after the drugmaker posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, which were boosted by its Covid-19 antibody treatment.
The drugmaker, like rival GSK on Wednesday, warned that its gross profit margin from coronavirus products is expected to be lower than the company average for this year, while sales are expected to decline by a low-to-mid-20s percentage.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has come under stinging criticism for failing to prevent the LV debacle.
The financial watchdog held talks with LV and was satisfied that it needed a deal to survive, despite members questioning whether LV’s management was right.
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Unilever forecast growth of 4.5% to 6.5% this year as it pushes through price rises to try to offset soaring input costs