donderdag 6 april 2017

Unilever Puts Iconic Dutch Brand Zeeuws Meisje Up For Sale

Anglo-Dutch foods and detergents group Unilever is selling off its spreads division, which includes such well-known brands as Zeeuws Meisje, Blueband, Becel and CalvĂ©. The spreads are not unprofitable, the FD says, but are not a growth area, especially in the emerging markets which is where Unilever’s efforts are now concentrated. The company will also raise dividends for shareholders by 12% in a move to hold good on its promise to create shareholder value. The move comes in the wake of the recent Kraft-Heinz takeover bid which was seen off by the company but suggested Unilever might be vulnerable to future hostile takeover bids. ‘The review that the board has undertaken has been detailed and comprehensive, Unilever chairman Marijn Dekkers said in a statement . ‘It has confirmed that our model of long-term shareholder value creation has been successful and remains as valid as ever. The actions we are now going to take are fully supported by the board’...

The sell-off does not come a surprise to analysts, the Volkskrant writes. Three weeks ago rumours in the British press mentioned potential buyers of the €7bn division included Bain Capital, CVC and Clayton Dubilier & Rice. Kraft-Heinz, too, might be in the running. Spreads were at the basis of Unilever’s success with brands like Zeeuws Meisje (‘Not a penny too much’) and Flora in Britain (‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’). The company was formed in 1929 with the merger of British-based Lever Brothers with Margarine Unie of the Netherlands. However, margarine is no longer seen as a growth sector for the combine which is now focusing instead on personal care products and developing markets.