The story appears on

Page A8

April 7, 2017

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Consumer

Unilever to sell off margarine division

ANGLO-DUTCH food and consumer products giant Unilever said yesterday that it is selling off its margarine division as it seeks to appease investors after spurning a takeover bid from US rival Kraft Heinz.

The Rotterdam-based group is also planning to increase dividends in 2017 by 12 percent, and launch a shares buy-back of some 5 billion euros (US$5.3 billion) by the end of the year.

Unilever was unveiling a 3.5-billion-euro restructuring plan as part of a company review launched in the wake of the takeover bid by Kraft Heinz in February.

“After a long history in Unilever, we have decided that the future of the spreads business now lies outside the group,” CEO Paul Polman said in a statement.

Analysts said the Kraft Heinz bid had been a “massive wake-up call” for the company.

“Unilever realized it needed to do more for shareholders, but it also has to improve margins,” said analyst Neil Wilson at EXT Capital.

One poll showed only half of the company’s shareholders had agreed with Polman’s flat refusal to even consider Kraft’s offer.

With the moves announced yesterday, Unilever “wants to make sure shareholders are not tempted by another bid and is throwing cash at the problem,” Wilson added, warning it “smacks a little of short-termism.”

Ironically, Kraft could now be one of the companies interested in taking on parts of the margarines and spreads business, which includes such household names as Flora and Stork, along with Blue Band and Rama.

They were formed as a separate Unilever unit in 2015.

The latest moves are aimed at making the company more attractive to investors.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend