Shares in Unilever rose 13p to finish on £16.21 yesterday amid rumours that the consumer goods company could be planning to demerge its operations.

Traders speculated that Unilever could separate its food and non-food businesses in the same way Cadbury Schweppes is demerging its confectionery and beverages businesses, according to reports in the Daily Mail.

Unilever will give a third-quarter update on 1 November and could even announce its plans then, the reports add.