January 26, 2017 / 7:30 AM / a year ago

Unilever ends the year with sales growth below estimates

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Unilever reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, hurt by demonetisation in India and an economic slowdown in Brazil.

The maker of Dove soap, Knorr soup and Marmite spread said underlying sales rose 2.2 percent in the quarter. That compared with analysts’ average expectation of 2.8 percent, according to a consensus compiled by the company, and growth of 3.2 percent in the third quarter and 4.7 percent in the first half of the year.

For the full year, sales growth was 3.7 percent, below the 3.9 percent analysts were expecting.

Unilever Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly told Reuters the company was targeting growth in the range of 3 to 5 percent for 2017, but that the first quarter would be below that, due to the issues in Brazil and India, and the timing of Easter.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Susan Thomas

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