Persil-to-Magnum group Unilever today reported a 10% rise in profits over the past year as sales of its core brands grew.
The Anglo-Dutch group, which is also behind Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, said pre-tax profits for the year to December 31 rose to €3.98bn.
Turnover slipped 7% at €48.76bn, impacted by adverse exchange rates and by the group selling a number of brands.
At constant exchange rates, profits rose 15% to €4.18bn, while turnover was flat at €52bn.
However, sales of the group’s core brands rose 5.4% during the year. Under the group’s “Path To Growth” restructuring it has offloaded a host of non-core brands to concentrate on its 400 biggest labels.
The group said its business had shown “strength in difficult market conditions”.
Chief executive Niall Fitzgerald said brands such as Knorr, Dove, Hellmann’s, and Persil had performed well in the UK.
He added that the business was resilient to a downturn in the economy, because it sold essential brands that customers would not cut back on.
“The economy is the economy – it doesn’t impact us that directly because we sell products that people eat, and use to keep themselves attractive.
“People don’t eat less or wash less when times are tough.”