Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever has posted a 2% rise in underlying first-half net profits and reiterated its full-year earnings growth target of 10%.

Unilever, whose brands include Knorr and Magnum, said first-half net profit before exceptional items and amortisation was €1.87bn (US$2.13bn), while overall net profit rose 14% to €1.27bn.

Sales of the company’s top 400 brands grew 3.1% in the first half. Unilever’s full-year target for sales growth of the top 400 brands is 4%.

Co-chairman Antony Burgmans said the group still expects to achieve earnings per share growth for 2003 of 10-12%, after just 4% growth in the first half.

The company also reported a 13% fall in net profit, at constant exchange rates, for the second quarter to 30 June, to €595m. Net profit before exceptional items and amortisation was up 2% for the quarter, to €1.01bn.

Second-quarter revenue fell 1.5% to €12.36bn.