Unilever profit rises 10% on emerging market sales

4th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever said Thursday its first half net profit rose 10 percent on the back of rising sales in emerging markets such as China and India.

Net profit came in at 2.24 billion euros ($3.17 billion), topped analyst forecasts compiled Dow Jones Newswires for $1.88 billion.

"Market conditions remain sluggish in the developed economies but emerging markets continue to deliver strong growth," the company said in a statement, highlighting double-digit growth in India and China.

"Our growth accelerated in the second quarter as we successfully balanced volume growth with ... price increases," it added.

Unilever, which sells popular brands ranging from Lipton tea, Knorr soups, Magnum ice creams to Dove beauty care and Sunlight dishwashing liquid, said first half sales rose 5.7 percent to 22.79 billion euros.

Sales in Asia were strong despite the impact of the Japanese earthquake, with a similar performance in Africa in the Middle East, where popular unrest has caused some uncertainty.

"We roll out new products to new markets faster and with greater discipline and rigour in execution," Unilever said, citing its Magnum ice cream brand as an example, introduced in the United States and Indonesia and "now present in 40 markets."

Good weather in northern Europe also saw a boost in ice cream sales.

Restructuring costs amounted to 242 million euros, due in part to the integration of US food manufacturer Sara Lee brands and hair products maker Alberto Culver.

The acquisition of the "Fab" laundry brand in Colombia has also been completed, Unilever said.

The company employs more than 167,000 people worldwide and markets its products in over 180 countries.

In Amsterdam, Unilever shares were up more than 4.0 percent in early trade while the broader market was up 1.29 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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