Unilever

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

, the Dutch-British maker of Lipton teas, Dove soaps and other popular brands of food and personal-care products, blamed exchange rates for lower profitability in the fourth quarter and the full year.

"Underlying sales growth of 7.4% was partly offset by movements in exchange rates (4.8%)" for 2008, the company said in a statement. Growth in 2008 operating profit was only 1% at current exchange rates, but rose 6% after adjusting for currency fluctuations.

Unilever also said a decline in its fourth-quarter operating margin was "exacerbated by adverse currency movements."

Unilever reported a loss of 1.7 billion euros from "currency retranslation" in its statement of recognized income and expense for 2008, compared with 413 million euros in 2007.

Mastercard

Mastercard

(MA) - Get Report

, the Purchase, N.Y.-based credit card issuer, specifically blamed the U.S. dollar and Brazil's real for weaker revenue growth.

"Currency fluctuations (driven by movement of the euro and the Brazilian real relative to the U.S. dollar) tempered net revenue growth by 3.5 percentage points for the quarter," Mastercard said in a statement.

The company reported $175.0 million as "cumulative foreign currency translation adjustments" among liabilities on its balance sheet at the end of 2008 compared with $216.6 million at the end of 2007.

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. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at

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in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at

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. Hall received a bachelor�s degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and has taken graduate management science courses at Boston University.