Belfast Telegraph

Unilever set to sell spreads brands after failed merger

By Ravender Sembhy

Unilever is to offload some of its best known brands, including Flora and Stork, as it revamps the business after batting off a $143bn (£115bn) takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant concluded that the future of its under-performing spreads business, which also includes I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, "now lies outside the group".

Unilever said: "The underlying category remains challenged in developed markets and we have now taken the decision to launch a process to either sell or demerge spreads."

The sale of the division could yield up to £6bn for the group and a number of private equity groups are thought to be weighing up bids.

The review was aimed at delivering more value to shareholders following the failed Kraft Heinz bid, and Unilever also plans to make an extra €2bn (£1.7bn) in cost savings that will result in some job losses.

Chief executive Paul Polman said the cuts would be largely limited to "senior management".

As part of the cost-cutting measures, Unilever increased its overall cost savings target from €4bn (£3.4bn) to $6bn (£5.1bn), over the next three years.

In addition, Unilever plans to combine its foods and refreshments business in a bid to boost growth.

Mr Polman said: "Our recent review concluded once more that our strategy for long-term value creation through growth and compounding returns on investment is the right one for Unilever and for our shareholders."

Belfast Telegraph