Unilever lifted its full-year margin target on Thursday after seeing a big improvement in the first half, underlying its ability to boost returns as an independent firm after rebuffing a $143 billion takeover bid from Kraft Heinz earlier this year.
The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, whose products range from Hellmann's mayonnaise to Dove soap, said it expected underlying operating margin to grow by at least 100 basis points this year. Its previous target was at least 80 basis points.
The company's profit margins became an area of investor scrutiny in February when U.S. food giant Kraft Heinz failed in its attempt to take over Unilever for $143 billion. The bid had received backing from two major investors in Kraft Heinz, private equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Polman has since said he had not been impressed with the Kraft Heinz offer and told CNBC in May that the company was doing just fine on its own.
"What the investor community is telling us is that they see the positive effects of (our strategy) and it gives them the confidence to stay in the stock or even enter more into our stock," CEO Paul Polman told CNBC on Thursday.