Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, appears to have made a miraculous turnaround following a disastrous 2004.
It has announced a 24 percent jump in first-quarter earnings – beating forecasts.
The maker of products including Dove soap, Slimfast diets, Magnum ice-cream and Lipton tea said profits were 1.28 billion euros.
The company said its outlook was better in developing and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but market conditions in Europe, which account for a third of the firm’s revenue, would be ‘very challenging’.
The world’s third biggest food-group and one of the leading producers of soaps and detergents is trying to encourage sales growth after a disappointing 2004 when it issued its first profit-warning in its 76 year history.
It responded by reforming its management structure as well as merging and selling brands and spending more money on advertising to compete with the world’s other foodmakers, including the largest: Nestle.