Unilever's Path to Growth Strategy

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  • Topic: Unilever, Lever Brothers, Elizabeth Arden
  • Pages : 1 (378 words )
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  • Published : September 14, 2012
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Case Study Unilever’s Path to Growth Strategy:
Introduction: Arthur: A. Thomson The University of Alabama Unilever was created in 1930 through the merger of Margarine Unie, a Dutch margarine company, and British-based lever Brothers, a soap and detergent company. Margarine Unie had grown through mergers with other margarine companies in the 1920s. Lever Brothers was founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever, who originally built the business by establishing soap factories around the world. In 1917, lever Brothers began to diversify into foods, acquiring fish, ice cream, and canned foods businesses. At the time of their merger, the two companies were purchasing raw materials from many of the same suppliers, both were involved in large-scale marketing of household products, and both used similar distribution channels, between then, they had operations in over 40 countries. (Deborah Ball, “Unilever Cuts Its Growth Target Again.” The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2003, p.A3. Ibid, p. A7.) Throughout 2003, Niall Fitz Gerald and Antony Burgmans, Unilever’s co-chairmen, expressed confidence that the company’s five-year Path to Growth strategy was on track. The two co-chairmen had fashioned the strategy initiative in early 2000, following several years of sluggish performance, to rejuvenate the company and restructure its wide-ranging portfolio of food, home, and personal care businesses, which included some 1600 brands and sales and marketing efforts in 88 countries across the world. Following the announcement of its path to growth strategy in February 2000, which was met with considerable skepticism on the part of industry analysts, Unilever undertook a series of actions over the next 12 months. By March 2001 the company had: • Made 20 new acquisitions worldwide. • Cut the company’s brand portfolio from 1600 brands to 970. • Launched 20 internal initiatives to deliver additional sales of €1.5 billion on an annualized basis. • Divested 27 businesses, including the...
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