The Hague – Anglo-Dutch food and consumer products giant Unilever on Thursday reported rising sales and boosted its shareholder dividend in its first earnings update since seeing off a bid attempt by Kraft Heinz.

Sales rose 6.1 percent in the three months to March to 13.3 billion euros ($14.3 billion), partly explained by favourable exchange rate factors, and ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Ever since spurning a takeover bid from US rival in February, Unilever has been trying to prove to shareholders that it is better off on its own.

Earlier this month, it announced the sale of its margarine division to butter up investors, many of whom had been doubtful about the rejection of the proposed tie-up with Kraft.

On Thursday, it announced a 12 percent hike in its dividend for the quarter, “reflecting the confidence in our outlook”, according to its statement.

© AFP JOHN THYS Unilever said sales rose 6.1 percent in the three months to March to 13.3 billion euros, partly explained by favourable exchange rates and ahead of analysts' expectations

© AFP JOHN THYS – Unilever said sales rose 6.1 percent in the three months to March to 13.3 billion euros, partly explained by favourable exchange rates and ahead of analysts’ expectations