Indian food and consumer goods company Hindustan Lever has reported a rise in fourth-quarter net profit, despite lower sales.

The company, which is 51% owned by Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever, posted net profit of R4.95bn (US$109.3m) for the fourth quarter to 31 December, compared to net profit of R4.81bn in the year-ago period.

Analysts had been expecting Hindustan Lever to post a fourth-quarter net profit of R5.36bn, reported Dow Jones Business News.

Sales for the fourth quarter were R25.8bn, compared to R26.4bn in the same period of the previous year.