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Unilever profit up 35% as heat spurs tea, ice-cream sales

Unilever, the maker of Knorr soups and Dove soap, said Q2 profit increased 35% after climbing temperatures spurred European sales of ice cream and ready-to-drink teas and a writedown wasn't repeated. Net income advanced to €986 million from €731 million a year earlier, the Rotterdam and London-based company said in a Regulatory News Service statement today.
Sales rose 3.3% to €10.3 billion. Warmer weather combined with the soccer World Cup, played for four weeks through July 9, to stoke sales Magnum ice-cream bars and bottled Lipton iced teas. Unilever has been struggling to catch competitors including Nestle SA and Reckitt Benckiser Plc, which have been quicker to meet changing consumer tastes. "The first-half year results give me confidence that we have largely succeeded in restoring competitiveness," CEO Patrick Cescau said in the statement. "I am also particularly encouraged by the resumption of growth in Europe." (Bloomberg)