Unilever says first quarter net profit up 31 percent

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Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever said on Thursday its first quarter net profit rose 31 percent from a year earlier to 1.05 billion euros (1.4 billion dollars).

Unilever said that after the first quarter pick-up, it expected the rest of the year to be more challenging,

"We will face a tougher environment as the year progresses," chief executive Pol Polman said, warning that raw material costs will rise in the second half while the market will continue competitive.

Sales in the three months to March rose 6.7 percent to 10.14 billion euros, reflecting gains across all the company's markets, Polman said.

Operating profit was up 17 percent from a year earlier to 1.44 billion euros.

© 2010 AFP

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