Unilever posted sales growth of 7.4% in the first nine months of 2008, with 8.3% growth in the third quarter, and an operating margin of 24.2% in the quarter, boosted by profits on disposals. In total, disposals generated a pre-tax profit of €1,579 million in the first nine months, compared with €52 million in the same period in 2007.
“We have strengthened the business in a tough environment. Despite the price rises needed in the light of unprecedented cost increases, our volumes are holding up," said Patrick Cescau, group chief executive, Unilever. "Our cost savings programs are far reaching and on-track to deliver. We have been reshaping the portfolio, allowing us to focus our resources where it matters most: behind our brands and our priority categories. All this leaves us well placed for the future. This year we now expect to deliver underlying sales growth well in excess of our long-term target range of 3–5%, together with an underlying improvement in operating margin for the year.”
The full report with charts is available here.