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Unilever Profits Rise 1 Percent

Full-year revenues advanced 5 percent despite "significant external challenges."

LONDON — Unilever — parent of brands including Alberto Culver, Tresemmé and Vaseline — said its net profits rose 1 percent in the 2011 fiscal year to 4.62 billion euros, or $6.1 billion, on the back of a 5 percent rise in revenues.

Chief executive Paul Polman said the gains came despite the negative impact of currency fluctuations. Turnover in the 12-month period rose five percent to 46.47 billion euros, or $61.34 billion. Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the period.

“In 2011, we have made significant progress in the transformation of Unilever to a sustainable growth company despite difficult markets and an unusual number of significant external challenges,” Polman stated. “We are reaping the benefits of recent acquisitions, which have been rapidly integrated, with examples such as Tresemmé in Brazil, and Simple in the U.S., both launched within nine months of completing the acquisition of Alberto Culver.

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“Our overall performance was driven by outstanding growth in emerging markets and the home care and personal care categories,” he continued. “We invested heavily in our brands and exit the year with positive momentum.”

Polman added that the macro-economic environment would remain “difficult” in 2012, and that raw material and labor costs would persist, although to a lesser extent than in 2011.

The Anglo-Dutch company said that in the fourth quarter, underlying sales growth was 6.6 percent, with 6.5 percent price growth and volume growth of 0.1 percent.