Unilever Company profile
"By making and selling brands that meet people's everyday needs, we have grown into one of the world's largest consumer goods businesses." (Unilever Environmental performance report 2003(Unilever 2003)
Unilever is part of the Unilever Group, which is owned by the Netherlands-based Unilever N.V. and UK-based Unilever PLC and has two global divisions, Home & Personal Care and Food. Through an equalisation agreement, they operate as a single unit with the same board of eight Executive Directors and the same set of 12 Advisory Directors (Unilever 2002).
The Unilever Group was created in 1930 when the UK soap maker LEVER Brothers merged with the Dutch margarine producer, Margarine Unie. The Dutch companies of Van den Bergh and Jurgens, which formed the core of Margarine Unie, were strongly rooted in Western Europe, while Lever Brothers concentrated on the UK and the countries which now form the Commonwealth. Both founding firms used the same raw materials to make products such as margarine and soap. Today, Unilever has operations in around 100 countries and its products are on sale in 150 countries worldwide (Unilever 2003). Over a third of its capital investment in 2001 took place outside the industrialised markets of Europe and North America (Unilever 2002).
The company markets around 400 brands worldwide; some have global appeal, others are regional/local brands developed to meet regional or local preferences. The company's global food brand names include Iglo, Bertolli, Hellmann's, Knorr, Lipton and Magnum. Home and Personal Care brands include Dove, Lux, Omo and Sunsilk. Designer fragrances brands include Cerruti, Calvin Klein and Lagerfeld Classic.
Unilever was arguably the world's first packaged goods manufacturer, and is still one of its biggest companies with operations in every corner of the globe. "Meeting the everyday needs of people everywhere" is how the group describes itself. It is...