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Shares Rise, But Revenue Down At Unilever

Consumer goods maker Unilever reported better-than-expected 2013 results this morning, with an improved performance in emerging markets after currency devaluations early last year hurt demand.

Unilever, the maker of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream and Dove soap said pre-tax profit rose 9% to €7.1 billion. 

The Anglo-Dutch firm, which generates more than half its sales from developing and emerging markets, said that core earnings were €1.58 per share, above analysts' average estimate of about €1.53 per share.

Turnover for the full year fell 3%, with the Anglo-Dutch firm blaming a "tough market", the company said in a statement which can be viewed in full here. Revenue was hit by foreign exchange rates and divestments. But underlying sales rose 4.3%, slightly ahead of analysts' expectations.

The results follow a shock profit warning from the firm in September, its first in a decade. In the fourth quarter, underlying sales rose 4.1%, fueled by 8.4% growth in emerging markets.

"This has been achieved despite significant economic headwinds," said chief executive Paul Polman. Polman said he expected "ongoing volatility" in its markets, and planned to focus on cutting costs to fund further growth.

In Europe, Unilever's sales overall were flat, but in the UK they grew for the 25th successive quarter. London-listed Unilever's shares rose over 4% in early trading.

© 2014 - European Supermarket Magazine by Enda Dowling

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