shares, which have underperformed many stocks in the home and personal care sector. The stock has fallen nearly 16 percent since May.
But some analysts think the sell-off is overdone. Deutsche Bank this week upgraded Unilever's stock to "Buy" from "Hold," saying the concerns were exaggerated and that earnings growth should begin to mirror a recent improvement in sales growth.
Deutsche said the current valuation, about 16.5 times estimated 2014 earnings, was a good entry point.
By contrast, Procter & Gamble trades at close to 18 times 2014 earnings, according to Reuters data, while Nestle trades at 17 times.
Unilever's total shareholder return has been 10.4 percent over the last decade, according to Deutsche Bank, lagging the 13.1 percent average return of the global home and personal care industry.
Compared with food brands, home and personal care products often have higher growth, higher margins and higher exposure to emerging markets. As a result, Unilever has been shedding some of its North American food businesses and is looking at buying more home and personal care brands.
It sold Skippy peanut butter to Hormel Foods for $700 million in January and agreed in August to sell Wish-Bone salad dressings to Pinnacle Foods for $580 million. In August 2012, it sold its frozen meals business to ConAgra Foods for $267 million.
When asked about speculation about a sale of Ragu pasta sauces, another North American brand, Huet said it was important as a generator of cash.
"Management needs to learn to turn around the business rather than just sell your problems," Huet said. "It's a little more complex than just buy, hold or sell."
From a financial perspective, he said Unilever needed to balance selling brands with buying them. "Were we to make an acquisition, then perhaps you could accelerate one or two disposals," he said. "But it's largely pruning and nothing else."