- British-Dutch consumer goods major Unilever reported a 3.3% increase in first-half underlying sales, led by strong growth in its emerging markets, while turnover slipped from prior-year levels.

Underlying sales in emerging markets grew 6.2%, while Europe and North America sales were restricted by adverse weather in the second quarter which weighed on ice-cream sales. Underlying sales declined 0.6% in Europe and were flat in North America.

Meanwhile, turnover in the first six months fell 0.9% to €26.1bn.

Underlying earnings per share increased by 5.0% to €1.27 as the adverse impact of the spreads disposal was offset by the 2018 share buy back programme.

"For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year 3-5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow," said CEO Alan Jope.

The company would pay a quarterly dividend of €0.4104 per share in September.

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