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Unilever profits rise 9% thanks to growth in emerging markets

Consumer goods giant Unilever reported better-than-expected fourth quarter sales last year, despite “challenging” market conditions. Boosted by a stron...

Laura Mullan
|Feb 1|magazine5 min read

Consumer goods giant Unilever reported better-than-expected fourth quarter sales last year, despite “challenging” market conditions.

Boosted by a strong performance in emerging markets, the Anglo-Dutch group said that its pre-tax earning rose 9.2% last year to EU€8.15bn.

The company said that its underlying sales rose 4% and that this was partly due to a 6.3% increase in emerging market sales, with brands such as Knorr, Bango and Pot Noodle seeing significant growth.

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The results come after the maker of Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream rebuffed an EU€143bn takeover deal from Kraft Heinz last year, and sold its highly-contested spreads business to KKR for EU€7bn.

“We have delivered a good all-round performance with competitive growth, including an innovation-led improvement in volumes in the fourth quarter, and substantially increased margin, earnings and cash flow,” said chief executive Paul Polman.

The consumer goods group noted that market conditions remained “challenging in 2017 with volumes in the markets in which we operate growing at less than 1 per cent.”

However, the company remained optimistic about the sector, noting that it had seen “some early signs of improving conditions in emerging markets.”