Oct 11, 2017
Unilever takes steps to streamline operations
Unilever has taken measures to simplify its corporate structure with the launch on Wednesday of a €450m buyback of Dutch preference shares and the first steps of a merger of its two main food units. In August the group said it had agreed terms with NN Investment Partners and ASR Nederland for the acquisition of their 6 per cent and 7 per cent cumulative preference shares in Unilever NV, the company's Dutch-listed entity, representing 97 per cent of such preference shares. The unwelcome bid prompted Unilever in April to unveil a number of measures to improve its performance, including boosting its profitability; selling off or demerging its slow-growth margarine business, and combining its two main food businesses into one unit, based in the Netherlands. Unilever has a large food research facility in the Netherlands and it emerged on Wednesday that it had begun transferring 140 food jobs from London to Rotterdam. Interest from private equity groups has been high and Unilever has already sold its spreads unit in South Africa.
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