Sales: $36.3 billion for personal and home care. Corporate sales: $70.1 billion.
Key Personnel: Alan Jope, chief executive officer; Graeme Pitkethly, chief financial officer; Marc Engel, chief supply chain officer; Sunny Jain, president, beauty and personal care; Sanjiv, Mehta, president, Unilever, South Asia and chairman and managing director, Hindustan Unilever; Leena Nair, chief human resources officer; Nitin Paranjpe, chief operating officer; Richard Slater, chief R&D officer; Ritva Sotamaa, chief legal officer and group secretary.
Major Products: Home Care—Domestos, Omo, Surf, Ala, Biotex, Blueair, Brilhante, Cajoline, Cif, Coral, Drive, Jif, New Magic, Persil, Puro, Rin, Rinso, Robijn, Savo, Skip, Sun, Surf Excel, Unox, Viss, Vivere, Wheel, Xtra, Andy, Cuñataí, Deja, Dero, Fab, Fofo, Lavomatic, Mimosin, Nevex, Radiante, Sunil, Sunlight, Super Pell, Szavo, Via, Viso, Vixal, Wipol and Wonderlight. Personal Care—Axe, Dove, Lifebuoy, Lux, Rexona, Signal, Sunsilk, Aviance, Badedas, International Breeze, Brut, Caress, Citra, Clear, Closeup, Duschdas, Eskinol, Fair & Lovely, Fissan Baby, Hazeline, Pears, Pond’s Simple, Suave, Sunlight, Tigi, VO5, Vaseline, Williams, Zwitsal, Aim, Amodent, Andrélon, Baba, Block & White, Clinic Plus, Coco Varela, Cream Silk, Dawn, Elefante, Elle 18, Folicure, Gabi, Geisha, Glysolid, Good Morning, Hamam, Kalina, Le Sancy, Ayush Therapy, Liril, Matey, Monsavon, Organics, PS, Prodent, Proderm, Ultrex, Zendium, Zhonghua.
New Products: Beauty & Personal Care—Rexona Clinical Protection, Dove foaming hand wash, Dove Whipped Body Cream, St. Ives Facial Mists, Vaseline Clinical Care and Dove Derma series, Dove Facial Cleansing series, ApotheCare Essentials, Hijab Fresh, K-Bright, K-Ju, Korea Glow, Pure Derm, Purifi and Skinsei; Home Care—Love Home and Planet home care products, Domex Toilet Cleaning Powder, Cif Specialist sprays, Comfort Intense ultra-concentrated fabric conditioners, Omo Eco, Cif Ecofil. Acquisition—Equilibra.
Comments: Corporate sales declined 5% last year, but the company notes that underlying sales increased 2.9%.
By segment, beauty and personal care (BPC) sales declined 0.3% to about $23.4 billion. Underlying sales rose 3.1%, driven by gains in skin care and skin cleansing, partly offset by slower growth in deodorants and oral care products. The drop in sales hasn’t deterred Unilever from pursuing its purpose of “Beauty that cares for people, society and our planet;” nor from making acquisitions. In the past four years, Unilver’s BPC unit has acquired 12 companies, including Equilibra, an Italian maker of natural personal care products, last year. Top-performing countries included the US, Canada, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which were offset by Brazil, Japan and parts of Western Europe.
Home care sales fell 4.2% to $11.9 billion. The company notes that nearly 80% of turnover is in developing and emerging countries. To keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in emerging economies, the division created four consumer-centric categories:
- Fabric solutions focuses on ready-to-wear clothing;
- Fabric sensations focuses fabrics, fashion and lifestyle;
- Home and hygiene, which focuses on delivering care for a cleaner world; and
- Life essentials, which unites Unilever’s air and water purification brands.
The USLP has three major objectives:
- Improve the health and well-being of more than one billion people by 2020;
- Halve Unilever’s environmental footprint by 2030; and
- Enhance livelihoods for millions by 2020.
For the first quarter, corporate sales fell 1.6%, due to the sale of the spreads business. For the full year, Jope said he expects underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of its multi-year 3-5% range.
“Accelerating growth is our number one priority. It requires both great execution and a continued strategic shift into faster growth segments and channels,” he explained. “We saw good performance in key growth channels including out-of-home and e-commerce and benefited from stronger global innovations and faster and more relevant local innovation.”
Underlying sales in BPC rose 3.1%, driven by gains in skin care and deodorants, which were partly offset by oral care declines.
Underlying home care sales rose 6%, thanks to a strong start by fabric solutions and home and hygiene. Life essentials was flat. The Love, Home & Planet home care range debuted in Q1 (for more on Love, Home & Planet, read Happi’s coverage of the recent Sustainability Summits, which starts on p. 36).
In April, Unilever signed an agreement to acquire Olly Nutrition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Based in San Francisco, Olly was founded in 2014 by Eric Ryan, who also co-founded Method, the home care company acquired by SC Johnson in 2018. Olly’s mission is to make nutrition “delightfully easy” as the company insists good health is the foundation of happiness. The company is best known for its gummy vitamins and supplements and also sells protein powders and snack bars.
Under terms of the agreement, Olly will continue to be based in San Francisco and will be managed by Eric Ryan, who will assume the role of chief growth officer, and Gerry Chesser, who becomes Olly chief executive officer after serving as chief operating officer.
Just last month, Unilever rolled out Cif Ecorefill, a 10x concentrated refill that enables shoppers to buy one spray bottle that they can use for life. Made with 75% less plastic, Ecorefill attaches to current Cif Power & Shine bottles. The design means 97% less water being transported, 87% fewer trucks on the road and less greenhouse gas emissions. Ecorefill is 100% recyclable once the plastic sleeves are removed. By the end of next year, Unilever expects all Ecorefill and spray bottles to be made from 100% recycled plastic.