Unilever beats forecasts thanks to price increases

CONSUMER goods giant Unilever raised its prices sharply in the second-quarter to offset a hike in commodity costs, helping to beat forecasts with 7.1 per cent rise in quarterly sales.

The firm behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soaps said growth was driven by the group’s big emerging market presence in Asia, Africa and Latin America, helped by hot weather in Europe for its ice cream and beverage business as well as a price hike across the board. Half-year earnings were up 10 per cent.

Chief executive Paul Polman stuck to his 2011 goals of profitable sales volume growth ahead of its markets and higher profit margins, despite cost inflation and tough trading in the mature markets of Western Europe and the US.