July 23 (Reuters) - Consumer goods giant Unilever reported a smaller than expected drop in quarterly sales on Thursday, helped by strong demand for food and hygiene products.
The company also said that after exploring options for its 3 billion euro a year tea business, it had decided to keep its operations in India and Indonesia and partnership interests in the ready-to-drink tea joint ventures.
The rest of the tea business will be separated into an independent entity, the company said.
The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soaps to Knorr soups reported a 0.3% drop in underlying sales for the second quarter, much better than the analysts' average forecast for a 4.3% fall in a company poll.
Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru, Editing by Mark Potter