- The company also said it had started a strategic review of its global tea business, which includes brands such as Lipton and PG Tips.
- It said it was looking at "all options" for the business, which achieved annual turnover of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion).
Consumer goods giant Unilever posted a slightly better than expected rise in fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, though it represented the company's slowest quarterly underlying sales growth since 2009.
The company also said it had started a strategic review of its global tea business, which includes brands such as Lipton and PG Tips. It said it was looking at "all options" for the business, which achieved annual turnover of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion).
The results cap a tough year for a group that has registered stuttering growth in India and China, two of its biggest emerging markets, and intense competition in North America and Europe, drawing investor scrutiny of strategy under Alan Jope.
The maker of products as diverse as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream reported fourth-quarter underlying sales up 1.5%, against an average forecast of 1.4% growth in a company supplied poll of analysts.
Reporting results from Jope's first full year in charge, Unilever said annual turnover grew 2%, while underlying sales gained 2.9%. While turnover was in line with analysts' estimates, underlying sales growth was slightly ahead.
On its long-term outlook the company said it would step up execution and improve brand awareness and availability while also accelerating innovation.
Shares in Unilever were seen up 1%, a trader said before the market opened. Unilever said the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China on its business remains unknown at this time. China contributes 5% to Unilever's total sales.