London: Beating forecasts, the consumer goods giant Unilever Plc/NV posted a 7.3% rise in fourth-quarter underlying sales on Thursday, but declined to give a specific outlook for 2009 or reaffirm its 2010 targets.
The Anglo-Dutch company, the maker of Knorr soups, Lipton tea and Dove soap said it was inappropriate to provide a specific outlook for 2009 given the current economic conditions.
For the Oct-Dec quarter, Unilever’s underlying sales rose to 7.3% compared to analyst forecasts of 4.5% to 7.0% and a consensus of 6.0%. While its underlying 2008 annual sales rose 7.4% against forecasts of 6.7-7.3% and a consensus of 7.0%.
The group, whose 400 brands include Sunsilk shampoo, Omo detergents and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, saw annual earnings per share reach €1.79, compared to forecasts of €1.15 to €1.70 and a consensus of €1.38.