Anglo-Dutch consumer products group Unilever has today posted a 68 per cent increase in third-quarter 2002 net profits of euro 803 million and boosted its full year outlook for core earnings per share to growth in the "high-teens", from the previous "mid-teens".
Unilever's closely-watched net profit before extraordinary items, intangibles and amortisation of goodwill (BEIA) rose 17 per cent to euro 1.204 billion in the third quarter, it said.
Unilever, the maker of Lipton teas, Dove soap and Skippy peanut butter, said leading brands grew in the third quarter by 5.4 per cent.
Nine analysts polled by Reuters had forecast Unilever's net profits BEIA between euro 1.135 billion and euro 1.16 billion with consensus at euro 1.144 billion.
Forecasts for Unilever's total net profit ranged between euros 510 million and euro 662 million, with consensus at euro 600 million. The world's number three food group, after Swiss Nestle and US Kraft Foods, announced a sweeping reorganisation plan in 2000 and aims to cut its brand portfolio to 400 from 1,600 and to boost sales growth to between five and six per cent and margins to above 16 per cent by 2004.