Unilever has insisted it is "confident" of meeting its full-year financial targets despite restructruring charges hitting quarterly profits.

The company behind brands including Knorr soup and Ben & Jerry's ice cream posted a 7% fall in third-quarter operating profit to EUR1.4bn (US$2bn).

Unilever, which is in the process of cutting 20,000 jobs worldwide as it streamlines its business, said restructuring charges in the quarter reached EUR234m.

Turnover was up 4% to EUR10.2bn once currency fluctuations were stripped out and Unilever chief executive Patrick Cescau spoke of his "confidence" that the company would hit its forecasts for 2007.

"We have made a strong start in implementing the accelerated change programme announced in August," Cescau said. "In the third quarter, we have progressed the establishment of several new multi-country organisations as well as significant supply chain restructuring in Europe."

He added: "Our change programme leaves us well placed to deliver our longer term objectives."