Unilever announces share buyback, dividend boost

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Unilever, the consumer goods multinational whose brands include Dove, Knorr and Ben & Jerry’s, says it is planning a share buyback worth up to 6 billion euros ($7.4 billion) later this year.

Unilever said Thursday that sales in the first quarter were hit by unfavorable currency exchange rates and fell 5.2 percent to 12.6 billion euros ($15.6 billion) compared with the same period last year. However, the company added that underlying sales growth was 3.4 percent.

Unilever, which last month announced plans to consolidate its global headquarters in Rotterdam instead of London, also raised its quarterly dividend by 8 percent.

CEO Paul Polman says the first quarter “demonstrates another good volume-driven performance” at its Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment divisions.