Thursday, October 25 08:57:59
Consumer goods group Unilever beat expectations with a 5.9 percent rise in underlying quarterly sales thanks to strong demand from emerging markets. The rise beat a company-compiled consensus of 5 percent and came after a second-quarter increase of 5.8 percent. Emerging markets, which make up 55 percent of sales, saw growth of 12 percent. Chief financial officer Jean-Marc Huet told reporters on a call the company had seen particularly strong growth for its cleaning, hair and skin cleansing products in China, shrugging off worries about the pace of economic growth in the country.
Unilever's London shares gained 2.6 percent to 2,324 pence at 0707 GMT, outperforming Britain's bluechip index which was flat. The maker of brands such as Dove soap and Knorr soups said it was on course to meet its target of posting a modest improvement in core operating margin for 2012, but cautioned that inflation in the cost of ingredients was high. The world's biggest food company Nestle said earlier in October that sales growth slowed in the first nine months of the year as demand cooled in emerging markets. Procter & Gamble is due to report its results later today. ( C) Reuters