Consumer goods giant Unilever reported a smaller than expected drop in quarterly sales on Thursday, helped by strong demand for food and hygiene products.
The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soaps to Knorr soups reported a 0.3% drop in underlying sales for the second quarter, much better than the analysts' average forecast for a 4.3% fall in a company poll.
"Our hand hygiene business or surface cleaning or actually in-home eating — so, basic products that people buy in supermarkets — those are growing 15, 20, 25%," Alain Jope, CEO of Unilever, told CNBC's Julianna Tatelbaum Thursday..
"Meanwhile, the parts of our business that serve, for instance, restaurants, are very slow and that same pattern is true geographically," he also said, adding that the "supply chain has held up magnificently" during the pandemic.
The company also said that after exploring options for its 3 billion euro a year tea business, it had decided to keep its operations in India and Indonesia and partnership interests in the ready-to-drink tea joint ventures.
The rest of the tea business will be separated into an independent entity, the company said.
Unilever announced in June plans to become one single legal entity in the U.K. Speaking to CNBC, Jope said this would allow the firm to take steps such as "buying things with equity or de-merging parts of the business," while adding that there is no big transaction so far in the pipeline.
---- CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this story.