Unilever Ghana Limited (UNIL.gh) 2021 Annual Report
Distinguished shareholders, ladies, and gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome all of you to our Virtual Annual General Meeting for this year. It is also my pleasure and privilege to present to you our improved performance for the year ended, 31st December 2021.
Global Economic Environment
The global economy continues to recover despite the resurgence of the global pandemic (COVID-19), with the emergence of new variants, increasing uncertainties about how quickly the pandemic could be overcome.
According to the IMF World Economic Outlook issued in January 2022, “the fault lines opened up by COVID-19 are looking more persistent, and near-term divergences are expected to leave lasting imprints on medium-term performance”. The introduction of vaccines, their accessibility and early policy support, however, are principal drivers to close the gaps.
Global economic growth was projected at 5.9% in 2021, 4.4% in 2022 and an expected slow down to 3.8% in 2023, according to the IMF World Economic Outlook report, January 2022. The downward projections in 2022 and 2023 are attributed to supply disruptions and rising input prices that have resulted in higher inflation than anticipated, especially in the United States of America. The ongoing uncertainties of a possible shutdown of China’s real estate sector due to default risk and decreasing home sales have also impacted growth prospects. For developing economies, the slowdown in growth projections is due to the worsening pandemic impact.
As the pandemic continues, there are calls emphasizing the development of an effective global health strategy; worldwide access to vaccines, tests, and treatments; increased production of supplies and better in-country delivery systems and fairer international distribution ensuring containment of the pandemic. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook, countries will need to tighten their monetary and fiscal policies as inflation rises, with priority on health and social spending.
The Ghanaian Economic & Operating Environment
The economy of Ghana started to see an upward trend in GDP from the first quarter of 2021 at 3.3% year on year and continued its strong recovery from the COVID-19 related economic downturn. According to the latest Ghana Statistical Service report, real GDP growth rate for the first three quarters of 2021 averaged 5.3% versus an average contraction of 0.6% for the same period in 2020. The growth in GDP was equally seen in the manufacturing sector which posted a 7% year on year growth as at the end of the third quarter of 2021. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 6.2% growth in Ghana’s economy in 2022 in its October 2021 World Economic Outlook report.
This is higher than the 3.8% average expansion expected in countries in Sub-Sahara Africa and the 4.4% growth projected for the global economy.
The annual inflation rate accelerated month on month from 7.5% in May 2021 to 15.7% in February of 2022. Thisrate has been the highest since October of 2016, exceeding the Bank of Ghana’s target band of 6% to 10% and the levels recorded at the peak of COVID-19. The surge in inflationary rates was largely because of higher non-food price pressures attributable to the upward adjustments in fuel prices and exchange rate pressures in the last quarter of 2021 (according to the Monetary Policy Committee Report issued in January 2022).
The Ghana Cedi also came under pressure from the last quarter of 2021 through to the first quarter of 2022, depreciating by 4.1% and 3.1% against the U.S. Dollar and the Pound respectively on the interbank market. This pressure was mainly due to strong demand for forex from the corporate sector, offshore investors, and the seasonal demand for inventory stocking. The economic outlook, according to the Bank of Ghana, looks positive but it warns of likely inflationary pressures from uncertainties surrounding food and petroleum prices.
The Group’s result for the year ended 31st December 2021 shows a 23% increase in revenue from GHS 456 million in 2020 to GHS 559 million in 2021. The growth is attributable to the sustained momentum generated throughout the year and driven by volume and price increases and improved innovations.
Operating profit for the year was GHS 2.8 million, a significant improvement over the same period in 2020 when a loss of GHS 22 million was posted. Profit after tax for the year was GHS 0.4 million versus a loss after tax of GHS 50 million posted in the prior year, 2020.
No dividends will be recommended for shareholders.
Mrs Adesola Sotande-Peters, a Non -Executive Director, resigned effective December 16, 2021.
Mr. Edward Effah