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Jul 21, 4:02 AM EDT

Unilever profits rise 2 percent in first half of 2016

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever, the owner of brands including Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Dove and Hellmann's, says its net profit in the first half of the year rose two percent to 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) despite sales declining 2.6 percent to 26.3 billion euros ($29 billion) due to exchange rate fluctuations.

Unilever said Thursday that its underlying sales growth, which strips out the effect of factors such as currency changes, was a healthy 4.7 percent despite tough economic conditions in its markets around the world.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman says "We have been preparing ourselves for tougher market conditions in 2016 and do not see any sign of an improving global economy."

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