LONDON — Year-end net profit at Unilever plc, parent of brands including Dove, Pond’s and Toni & Guy, climbed 8.8 percent to 5.26 billion euros, or $7 billion, in the year to Dec. 31, 2013, boosted by disposals and underlying sales growth.
Sales were down 2.9 percent to 49.8 billion euros, or $66.23 billion, dented by unfavorable currency fluctuations. Underlying growth in the period was up 4.3 percent.
Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at average exchange rates for the 12-month period.
Unilever’s chief executive officer Paul Polman said the results were achieved despite “significant economic headwinds” and highly competitive markets.
“Looking forward, we anticipate ongoing volatility in the external environment and are positioning Unilever accordingly,” he said. “We are determined to make Unilever even more agile, and to fund further growth opportunities by driving out complexity and cost.”
The company noted that growth continued to slow in emerging markets due to the impact of economic uncertainty on consumer demand and to currency depreciation.
Unilever said that developed markets remained weak, “with little sign of any overall improvement despite the more positive macro-economic indicators in recent months.”
During the period, disposals of brands including Skippy and Wish-Bone added 733 million euros, or $975 million, to Unilever’s net profit.