Mumbai– Anglo-Dutch consumer goods multinational Unilever on Thursday said emerging markets sales drove the company’s growth in the third quarter of 2017, while it sees signs of improvement in India with higher demand-led growth helped by price cuts resulting from GST.

“While conditions in our developed markets remain challenging, we are starting to see signs of improvement in some of our biggest emerging markets including India and China,” Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman said in a statement in London after the company posted a 2.6 per cent underlying growth in sales during third quarter ended September.

“Emerging markets underlying sales growth was 6.3 per cent in the third quarter, with volume up 1.8 per cent,” Unilever said.

During the previous quarter ended June, its Indian arm, Hindustan Unilever, posted a 6 per cent sales increase with flat volume growth, mainly due to the destocking provoked prior to the implementation of the pan-India Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July.

Unilever said volume growth improved in India after implementation of the new indirect tax regime.

“As expected, price growth lowered as the benefits of the tax change were passed on to consumers,” the statement said.

The company’s overall third quarter growth was adversely affected by “poorer weather in Europe compared with last year and natural disasters in the Americas”.

“For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth within 3-5 per cent range, an improvement in underlying operating margin of at least 100 basis points and strong cash flow,” the statement added.(IANS)