Brand streamlining strengthens Unilever

LONDON - Unilever has announced strong second-quarter and half-year results, driven by acquisitions and the streamlining of its brand portfolio.

The company said it was confident that it was well placed to withstand the downturn.

In a statement, the company said, "Economies are slowing in many regions. However, our work on portfolio focus and restructuring strengthens our capacity to cope with difficult conditions."

The Anglo-Dutch company revealed a 7% rise in pre-tax profits to £1.32bn for the half year. Turnover was £16.31bn, a 17% increase on the same period a year ago.

In the second quarter, turnover was 15% higher than the same period last year at £8.2bn, and sales of leading brands were better than expected, showing an increase of 5.1%.

The group has implemented a growth strategy that has involved streamlining its portfolio down to 400 brands, and acquiring US rival Bestfoods.

"Following the Bestfoods acquisition, we have completed the planned review of our brand portfolio. Combining our existing brands with recent acquisitions, including Bestfoods, Slim-fast, Amora Maille and Ben & Jerry's, we have a larger, more powerful portfolio of leading brands," the company said.

European sales were up by 6% in the six-month period, but the underlying figure was just 1% because ice-cream sales dipped by 9%. Sales in laundry products grew by 3.5% and the household care business was up by 6%, driven by strong demand for Domestos and Cif wipes.

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