Believing the increased demand for low-carb products was a short-term fad, Unilever held back on introducing its own line of related products, BusinessWeek reports. Analysts argue the company's bottom line has been affected by the delayed move into low-carb offerings, with revenues from leading brands up 1.3% in the first quarter of 2004, compared with a forecasted 2% gain. A company spokesman said Unilever -- which has posted average annual earnings per share growth of 8% since its founding, is working to trim debt and focus on higher-growth segments, adding that he expects a return to modest growth in the Slim-Fast product line in 2004.

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