Unilever has revealed a 10% increase in first-quarter pre-tax profit to E1,310m, on sales up 9% at E9,535m. It said that although overall world consumer demand was robust, Western Europe remained sluggish. It said that in Europe underlying sales had declined by 0.5%, but had remained in line with last year in the UK.
Consumer products company Procter & Gamble's third-quarter net profit to March 31 rose 37% to $2.21bn (£1.2bn) on net sales up 21% to $17.25bn. However, P&G's sales figures came below analyst forecasts of $17.6bn, causing shares in the company to fall.
No piece of cake
Cake manufacturer Inter Link Foods has warned that its profit for the year to May 6 will be below expectations. In a trading update, it said: "April is traditionally one of our busiest trading periods. However, significant promotional activity for the month has not been as successful as had been anticipated." It expected year-on-year pre-tax profit growth of no less than 25%.
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Cadbury Schweppes have agreed to stop selling carbonated drinks in US schools. They have signed up to a voluntary ban where primary schoolchildren will only have access to low-fat milk and unsweetened flavoured water, but secondary schools will be able to sell diet carbonated drinks.
Hair brands sold
Personal care products company Lornamead has acquired Unilever's US haircare brands Finesse and Aqua Net for £80m. The brands generated more than $85m in sales last year. The sale is UK-based Lornamead's first move into the US market. It bought Yardley in January.