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Divestitures Boost Unilever’s Results

Published November 30, -0001
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Unilever has reaped the rewards from its divestitures during the past year but going forward, results may be somewhat more sobering.

The company reported its fourth quarter profits rose 51% to $1.57 billion (at average exchange rates). For the year, profit rose 28% to $7.78 billion.

Fourth quarter sales rose 3% to nearly $13.4 billion, and 1% to $59.6 billion for the full year.

Sales of personal care products, which includes Dove, Sunsilk and Axe/Lynx, rose 6.6% to more than $16.7 billion, in 2008.

But Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, warned: “Given the economic uncertainty I believe it would be inappropriate at this stage to provide an outlook specifically for 2009 or to reaffirm 2010 targets.”

Unilever’s long-term target previously called for annual underlying sales growth of 3% to 5%. By 2010, the group’s goal was to reach an operating margin of 15%.

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