Unilever sales rise 0.2 per cent in first quarter; to raise dividend 11 per cent

AMSTERDAM – Unilever PLC, the maker of consumer products such as Dove soaps, Surf detergent, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has reported a small rise in first quarter sales and says it will increase its quarterly dividend by 11 per cent.

In a trading update published Thursday, the company says sales rose 0.2 per cent to 12.2 billion euros ($15.9 billion) in the quarter. Excluding currency effects, the increase would have been 3.5 per cent.

Sales grew in the double-digits in developing countries, were about flat in North America, and declined in Europe.

CEO Paul Polman said in a statement the results show Unilever is winning market share.

Unilever says it will pay a 0.269 euro dividend per share per quarter in 2013, up from 0.243 per quarter in 2012.