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LONDON — Unilever, the maker of brands including Sunsilk, Vaseline and Dove, said fourth-quarter revenues advanced 8.6 percent to 12.56 billion euros, or $16.2 billion.
"All categories and all geographies grew with a good overall balance between volume and price," said Paul Polman, chief executive at Unilever, who added that emerging markets once again contributed double-digit growth.
Poleman said results had been achieved in tough economic conditions, "with volatile commodity costs and in an intensely competitive environment," and that there was no room for complacency.
"Markets will remain challenging, with intense competition and volatile commodity costs. We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow," he added.
In the personal-care category, Unilever said that hair products finished the year with a strong quarter of double-digit growth.
"Tresemmé had an excellent quarter, reflecting strength in Brazil and the impact of the recent launches in Indonesia and India,” said Poleman. “Dove Hair benefited from the continuing success of Dove Damage Therapy. Clear also grew strongly, completing a good first year in the highly competitive U.S. market.”
Annual profits at Unilever climbed 7 percent to 4.95 billion euros, or $6.39 billion, on the back of double-digit revenue gains.
The company said sales in 2012 advanced 10.5 percent to 51.32 billion euros, or $66.20 billion, with some brands, including Sunsilk, achieving over 1 billion euros, or $1.29 billion, in revenues against a challenging economic backdrop.
Dollar figures were converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.
Unilever said Sunsilk sales were driven by the growth of the core business and by the success of recent innovations, such as the natural oils range.