Updated from Noon EDT
fell Friday after the consumer goods company announced that it expected sales growth for the year to be smaller than it previously predicted.
The London-based company -- whose products include Breyers ice cream, Dove soap, Lipton teas and Q-Tips -- said growth would be 2% to 3% instead of its original 3% to 4% estimate. The sales growth would rise to 4% to 5% if the acquisitions of
Ben & Jerry's
were included, the company said.
Shares of Unilever were down 2 5/8, or 5%, to 47 5/8 in afternoon trading Friday.
The company also announced that its cost-reduction program was progressing well and that benefits from lower input costs were continuing. In addition, it said talks with potential buyers for its European bakery business were progressing.
This news comes after the British-Dutch food giant
announced June 8 that the company was raising its margin targets from 5% to 5.8% by 2004 in the wake of its $20.3 billion
adjusted its rating on Unilever from market perform to buy on June 8.
Melissa Gash, a spokeswoman for Unilever, said the company had no further comments beyond the statement it released Friday. The company will discuss the developments during an analyst's meeting next week.
Unilever is set to announce its second-quarter results on Aug. 4.