Unilever, the parent company of many household brands including Pot Noodle, Tresemme, Walls ice cream and Lynx, has reported stronger than expected sales growth after taking advantage of opportunities in emerging markets.
Its latest financial statement revealed emerging markets sales growth had risen by 11.4. Emerging market sales represents 55% of turnover. Positives sales figures were also reported across all of its geographical regions.
Chief executive Paul Polman attributed his brand's progress to "delivering bigger, better innovations and rolling them out faster, improving our execution in the market place and increased discipline driving savings in all areas of the business".
"However, there is no room for complacency: markets will remain challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs. We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow," he concluded.
The results also showed that ice cream brand Magnum and haircare range Sunsilk joined its €1 billion group, taking the group to 14 brands.
Nick Hood, business analyst at Company Watch, said Unilever had done well to only pursue sensible business decisions in economically challenging times, particularly given the european market had become difficult.
"The company has come from a dark place, both commercially and financially, with much work still to do to strengthen a balance sheet still impacted by negative working capital and burdened by huge intangible assets. Improving these aspects will take time, but its re-positioning as a sustainable growth business should eventually strengthen its financial profile," he added.
Unilever's operating profit hit €7bn - up 9%. Its biggest rival, Proctor and Gamble, is due to report its financial results on Friday.