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Unilever reported a 43% drop in net profits to €803 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2009. Sales were down 1%, falling to €9.5 billion. The company reported that its performance in developing and emerging markets posted double-digit growth, and performance in the U.S. improved.
“First quarter results were solid given today’s trading environment, with growth of 4.8% and underlying margins maintained, before dilution from disposals," said Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever. "We have made good progress implementing plans to reignite volume growth, building on existing strengths and correcting competitive gaps. We will further step up innovation and brand support from the second quarter and expect this to drive an improved volume performance. This will be achieved while protecting cash and margins for the year.”
The company reported that growth in the U.S. was driven by new advertising for Dove bar soap and new innovations such as Clinical Protection deodorants, Axe hair care products and the Vaseline For Men range. The roll-out of instant whitening toothpaste using optical effect technology continued to drive share gains in oral care.