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Unilever profit jumps on asset sale, higher prices

BRITISH consumer goods giant Unilever on Tuesday said its net profit jumped more than a fifth in the first half thanks to an asset sale and as it lifted prices.

Profit after tax rose 22 percent to 3.54 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in the six months to the end of June from a year earlier, the maker of products ranging from Magnum ice cream and Cif surface cleaner to Dove soap said in a statement.

Unilever said it gained 497 million euros from the sale of personal-care business Suave in North America, adding it had passed on higher costs to customers in the form of sharp price increases for goods.

Businesses and consumers worldwide continue to battle higher costs as inflation remains stubbornly high, especially in the UK.

Unilever on Tuesday added that its turnover increased 2.7 percent to 30.4 billion euros in the first six months of the year.

“Unilever’s performance in the first half highlights the qualities that attracted me to the business: an unmatched global footprint, a portfolio of great brands and a team of talented people,” said new chief executive Hein Schumacher.

The former head of Dutch dairy and nutrition firm Royal FrieslandCampina replaced Alan Jope this month.

Scotland-born Jope departed after coming under fierce pressure from activist investors.

He last year oversaw Unilever’s failed $50-billion bid for the former healthcare unit of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

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