Unilever Quarterly Earnings Improve on Higher Prices

Consumer goods giant Unilever (NYSE:UN) revealed Thursday a stronger-than-expected second-quarter profit led by much higher prices and growth in emerging markets that boosted sales 7.1%.

Based in Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands, Unilever makes a variety of consumer goods products, including the brands Dove, Suave, St. Ives, Vaseline and Ben & Jerrys.

Growth last quarter was driven by widening demand in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where Unilever continues to increase its presence, as well as hot weather in Europe that boosted sales in its ice cream and foods business.

Unilever hiked prices by more than 5% during the period, which was its largest increase in about two years. The move helped mitigate raw material costs and widen revenues.

The company maintained its bleak forecast that commodity costs would be up 15% year-over-year and that market conditions remain sluggish in developed economies, however it said cost savings will likely be in excess of its previously goal of 1.3 billion euros. We are making encouraging progress in the transformation of Unilever to a sustainable growth company, said the companys chief executive, Pail Polman. Volumes were robust and in line with the market, despite having taken price increases.

The company said it will continue expanding into emerging markets as they continue to deliver strong growth.