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Unilever chief downbeat on the worldwide economy

Paul Polman, the chief executive of Unilever, has issued a very downbeat assessment of the global economy and the immediate future. Despite the fact that the financial press is indicating a global upturn, spearheaded by the US economy, the chief executive of Unilever has yet to see any "green sprouts" in the global economy. While this is an obvious concern, is he being too pessimistic in the short term?

The company announced a 30% reduction in operating profit to £4.3 billion for 2009 which was pretty much in line with expectations. While the company expects underlying sales this year to be around 3.5%, Mr Polman is concerned about the short to medium term direction of the global economy. When you consider that Unilever is one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world this is an operation which does have its finger on the financial pulse and exposure to many different areas of the worldwide economy.

Some analysts have stepped forward with a suggestion that this downbeat assessment of the worldwide economy may well offer a long-term buying opportunity for those looking at Unilever shares. Whether or not Paul Polman's assessment of the worldwide economy turns out to be incorrect is immaterial at this time because his comments have been latched upon by investors and some are now becoming more concerned.

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