Unilever, the owner of brands such as Knorr soups, Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, reported a 1 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Thursday.
The company said net profit for the three months ended March 31 increased to euro1.1 billion (US$1.46 billion), compared with euro1.06 billion in the year-earlier period. Sales climbed 2.1 percent to euro3.544 billion (US$4.817 billion).
Underlying sales _ which excludes acquired or discontinued business and factors out currency fluctuations _ advanced 5.7 percent, beating the company's target of as much as 5 percent growth.
"Looking forward, we face a significant headwind from rising agricultural commodity costs which may require further pricing action," said Chief Executive Patrick Cescau.
"I am confident, however, that the combined benefit of organic growth in our 3-5 percent guidance range and improved efficiency leaves us well placed to achieve our margin objectives for 2007."
Unilever shares were up 3.5 percent at 1610 pence (euro23.63; US$32.11) in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.