LONDON — Unilever, whose products range from ice cream to shampoo, posted a 10.3 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to 13.4 billion euros, or $16.8 billion, boosted by emerging markets.
Growth slowed for the second consecutive quarter this year, and was girded by a 4.1 percent bump in foreign exchange rates. All figures have been converted at average exchange rates for their respective periods.
Paul Polman, Unilever's chief executive officer, said, "Commodity cost inflation is high and remains volatile, and there is no sign that the level of competition will ease. For 2012, we remain on track to deliver a modest improvement in core operating margin.”
Unilever said underlying sales growth was 5.9 percent, fuelled by emerging markets, which rose 12.1 percent. However, overall growth slowed from 11.1 percent in the second quarter, and 11.9 percent in the first.
The company said TRESemmé did well in its traditional markets, made strong headway in Brazil, and has recently been launched in Indonesia and India. The Clear launch in the U.S. is performing well, and the brand is also making inroads into other new markets such as Australia.
The statement added that Dove Damage Therapy continues to drive growth across many markets, and Dove Men+Care hair was launched in Brazil. In skin care, Unilever said that Vaseline Daily Care Total Moisture maintained "good momentum," while a Dove Men+ Care face range was launched in the U.K. The acquired Kalina brands in Russia performed strongly.
Asia, Africa, and Russia posted the strongest growth by region, rising 5.3 percent, followed by the Americas region, which was up 4.3 percent — driven mostly by growth in Latin America — and Europe, which advanced 3.7 percent.
Unilever called Europe "intensely competitive and promotionally driven." It also said it was responding to the needs of hard-pressed consumers in Europe: "For example in Greece we have launched a range of value-priced products under the locally well-known Elaïs brand."
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