Unilever has dismissed reports that investors are calling for the Anglo-Dutch multinational to be broken up following what some have termed poor first quarter results.

A report in The Observer newspaper said that dissatisfied investors, who view the company’s management as too conservative, are looking to increase the pressure to change its strategy, boost its valuation and sell off underperforming brands.

“It’s rubbish basically,” Trevor Gorin of Unilever told just-food this morning (8 May). “As far as I’m aware we’ve had no approaches from investors.”

Gorin said that the company viewed the first quarter results in a positive light, and that while the company’s return to sales growth after a stagnant 2004 was a slow process, Unilever was moving steadily in the right direction.

“Our results for Q1 of 2.9% sales growth are on track as we see it, having delivered 3% growth in FY2005. In the long-term we’ll be looking to expand growth, but we view the results delivered last week as solid, especially given our 2004 performance when we reported no growth. Our aim now is to sustain our momentum throughout 2006,” Gorin said.