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Divestitures Boost Unilever’s Results

November 30, -0001

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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