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, the British-Dutch consumer goods giant, reported a 12% jump in its first-quarter earnings Wednesday as the company's restructuring efforts helped to lower costs.

Unilever, whose products include Lipton teas and Dove skin-care products, said its net profit, excluding exceptional items, rose to 716 million euros ($659 million), or 0.71 euro a share, from 640 million euros, or 0.57 euro a share, in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose a modest 1%, to 9.69 billion euros from 9.64 billion euros.

Unilever's ADRs were up 7/8, or 4%, to 25 3/8 in early trading Wednesday. (Unilever finished up 7/16, or 2%, at 24 15/16.)

"Our strategy of focusing resources on leading brands is on track," Unilever Chairman Niall FitzGerald said in a statement. "We are managing the migration to a faster-growth portfolio without endangering our profitability."

Unilever is currently in the process of divesting its nonstrategic holdings while acquiring companies seen as capable of contributing to long-term growth. Unilever recently agreed to acquire

SlimFast Foods


Ben & Jerry's Homemade


for a total of about $2.6 billion.

Sales of Unilever's 400 leading brands grew over 3% in the quarter even as sales in Europe, the company's largest region, slipped 3%. Operating profit, however, rose 12%.

Sales rose by 3% in North America, the company's second biggest region, and by 9% in the Asia and Pacific region. Operating profits were up 17% in North America and 41% in the Asia and Pacific region.