India's Hindustan Unilever posted a 34% rise in net income for the third quarter driven by rising sales and "exceptional" income from the sale of properties.

For the period to 30 September, net income reached INR5.47bn (US$109m) from INR4.08bn for the previous year.

The company, which is a subsidiary of Anglo-Dutch major Unilever, saw sales rise 20% to INR40.28bn from INR33.65bn in the same period last year.

Pre-tax profit rose to INR6.7bn from INR5.16bn in 2007.

The company's foods business grew by 17.5%, the company said, with a "strong performance" across beverages, processed foods and ice cream. Knorr soups and mixes expanded variants and ice cream delivered a "well balanced" growth between volume and price.

Hindustan Unilever chairman Harish Manwani said: "Consumer spending remains robust in FMCG and we continue to improve our turnover ahead of aggregated market growth.

"We have sustained volume growth in a high inflationary environment and offset the cost impact through aggressive cost management and judicious pricing. We remain focused on sustaining competitive growth in our core categories and selectively building new categories."