Hurricanes and poor weather hit Unilever

'‹Consumer goods giant Unilever has said third quarter sales were hit by hurricanes in the US and poor weather in Europe.

Marmite is one of Unilever's best selling products
Marmite is one of Unilever's best selling products

The Anglo-Dutch group, which is behind Dove, Marmite and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, posted a 2.6​ per cent​ increase in underlying sales for the period to £11.8​bn, below expectations and down from 3​ per cent​ in the first half of the year.

Chief executive Paul Polman said: "Growth in the third quarter was adversely affected by poorer weather in Europe compared with last year and natural disasters in the Americas."

Sign up to our Business newsletter

However, he pointed to "signs of improvement" in some of Unilever's biggest emerging markets, including India and China.

Its emerging markets division booked a 6.3​ per cent​ increase in underlying sales over the quarter, which compares to a 2.3​ per cent​ fall in developed markets.

However, Unilever held its underlying annual sales growth forecast at within the 3 to 5​ per cent​ range.

Unilever, which employs 169,000 people worldwide, announced in April that it would offload some of its best-known brands - including Flora and Stork - after fending off a £115​bn​ takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz.

It plans to sell its underperforming spreads business, which could yield up to £6​bn.

Earlier this year, Unilever also struck a​ £1.9​bn deal to buy South Korean cosmetics firm Carver Korea.

It bought the business from Bain Capital Private Equity, Goldman Sachs and the firm's founder, strengthening its foothold in the Asian beauty market.