Consumer goods giant Unilever reported forecast-beating core profit on Tuesday, with strong underlying sales growth cheering investors who sent the stock higher.
Core earnings came in at 1.58 euros per share, against forecasts in a Reuters poll of 1.53 euros per share. Unilever shares rose almost 5 percent in early trade.
A slowdown in emerging markets and currency depreciation in those markets took their toll over the course of the year, resulting in a 3 percent drop in full year revenue to 49.8 billion euros ($67.4 billion). But underlying sales grew 4.3 percent in 2013 with an 8.7 percent rise in underlying sales growth in emerging markets.
Unilever chief executive Paul Polman told CNBC that the company had had another year of "profitable, consistent and competitive" growth.
"There's obviously a headwind that you've seen on currencies that you've seen in many parts of the world, but the underlying sales growth is up 4.3 percent which is very competitive for us. We also have another year of profitable growth…so that's four years now of top and bottom-line growth."
Growth continued to slow in emerging markets, Unilever said, as a result of the impact of economic uncertainty and currency depreciation on consumer demand.
"Emerging markets used to grow at a composite of 6 to 8 percent but it's now more 5 to 6 percent and we have to deal with that. We have seen significant slowdown of growth in major markets like India or Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil where obviously we have very strong businesses," Polman said.
Unilever, which has a range of brands from Dove soap to Ben & Jerry's ice cream, said it anticipated ongoing volatility in the external environment.