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Unilever beat forecasts

Unilever sales rose by 4.3 percent, slightly ahead of analysts' expectations for a 4.2 percent gain.

Unilever sales rose by 4.3 percent, slightly ahead of analysts' expectations for a 4.2 percent gain. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON - Consumer goods maker Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) reported better-than-expected 2013 results on Tuesday, with an improved performance in emerging markets after currency devaluations earlier last year hurt demand.

The Anglo-Dutch maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Lipton tea and Dove soap - which generates more than half its sales from developing and emerging markets - said core earnings were €1.58 per share, above analysts' average estimate of about €1.53 per share.

Turnover for the full year fell 3 percent, hit by foreign exchange rates and divestments. But underlying sales rose 4.3 percent, slightly ahead of analysts' expectations for a 4.2 percent gain.

In the fourth quarter, underlying sales rose 4.1 percent, fuelled by 8.4 percent growth in emerging markets.

Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet cited contributions from equity stakes in other companies and a favorable tax rate in addition to growth.