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Premarket London: Unilever Warns of Sales Slowdown

Investing.com -- Here is a summary of the most important regulatory news releases from the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, 17th December. Please refresh for updates.

Consumer giant Unilever (LON:ULVR) shaved its sales forecast for this year and said the first half of 2020 will also be weak., citing the economic slowdown in India and difficult trading conditions in West Africa. It also noted that a recovery in North America “will take time.”

Underlying sales growth will be “slightly below its guidance of the lower half of its 3%-5% multi-year range,” the company said. In the first half of 2020, growth will fall below 3% before picking up again in the second half. Even so, CEO Alan Jope said he expects 2020 growth to be below 4%.

"Growth remains our top priority and we are confident we have the right strategy and investment in place to step up our performance," Jope said.

Quality assurance provider Intertek (LON:ITRK) said it agreed to buy Check Safety First, a health, safety, quality and security risk management business that works in travel, tourism and hospitality, for an undisclosed sum.

CSF has annual revenue of around 10 million pounds.

Middle eastern-focused clinic operator NMC Health (LON:NMC) said it had agreed to buy back $90 million of convertible debt due 2025 at a price of 92.5c on the dollar. The deal cuts the outstanding issue volume by 20%, leaving $360 million outstanding.

Distribution and services group Bunzl (LON:BNZL) said revenue for 2019 was expected to increase by between 2% and 3%, in line with its prior guidance. Underlying revenue growth at constant exchange rates is still seen as coming in flat.

The group cited “mixed macroeconomic and market conditions”.

Bunzl (LON:BNZL) also announced the acquisition of Fire Rescue Safety Australia, its third buy of the year, bringing its total M&A spend up to 120 million pounds. FRSA has annual revenue of 37 million Australian dollars (19 million pounds).

Oilfield services group Petrofac (LON:PFC) said it expects a tough 2020 marked by falling revenue and high investment needs. The group said it has only $4 billion of secured revenue so far for the year, compared to expected revenue of $5.5 billion this year (it upheld prior guidance for 2019 in its statement). Net margins in the engineering and construction unit, which accounts for the bulk of revenue, are expected to fall due to a bigger share of business coming from lower-margin markets.

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