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Business News

Kelly's €1bn boost for Magnum

Celebrity Kelly Brook has helped Unilever's Magnum ice cream join its €1bn club of brands, as shares in the consumer goods giant hit an all-time high.

The world's third-biggest consumer goods firm said both Magnum and Sunsilk shampoo had delivered revenues ahead of the milestone last year to give it 14 brands in its €1bn portfolio, including Dove soap, Knorr soup, Lipton tea, Walls ice cream, Flora margarine and Surf detergent.

Unilever launched Magnum in the US last year and has been using Ms Brook for around 12 months to promote its ice cream. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Hellmann's mayonnaise posted underlying sales growth of 6.9 per cent over 2012, which was ahead of City expectations of 6.5 per cent. This helped propel shares in Unilever up by 74p, or 3 per cent, to a record 2526p.

Unilever said "double-digit" growth in emerging markets, such as India, Indonesia and China and Brazil, had boosted its turnover by 10.5 per cent to €51.3bn.

The group, which also owns Ben & Jerry's ice cream, described its performance in Europe as "sluggish" and the region's sales rose by just 0.8 per cent last year, although the UK and France "continued to perform well".

The group's pre-tax profits rose by 7 per cent to €6.68bn.