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Unilever sees revenues fall; emerging market weakness

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever reported a 5.5 percent fall in first-half revenue on Thursday citing continued weakness in emerging markets.

Revenue for the first six months of the year came in at 24.1 billion euros ($32.4 billion), which failed to meet analysts' expectations. Operating profit managed to hit 4.4 billion euros, showing rise of 13 percent and net profit was up 12 percent in the same period to 3 billion euros.

The company said it was focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth and announced a quarterly dividend of 28.5 cents.

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Unilever is a consumer goods brand that has over 200 global brands including Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Paul Polman, the chief executive officer at the company called the results "fairly good" but said that emerging markets, which take up nearly 60 percent of the business, remained a drag to revenues.

Munshi Ahmed | Bloomberg | Getty Images

He explained that quantitative easing in the U.S. in the last few years had spread money across the globe and policymakers from developing nations hadn't used that period of investment to make much needed reforms to their economies.

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"All that money pumped in, it went into the stock market, into real estate and into emerging markets," he said.

With central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve now looking to unwind their liquidity programs, Polman said that these markets are now facing tighter access to liquidity and is thus hitting demand.

He added that it was still important for Unilever to be present in countries like Brazil, India and China and was hopeful these reforms would materialize in the future.

For Europe, he expected a "long and slow recovery," which mirrored his remarks about the U.S. which he said still had many people excluded from the workforce.

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