Unilever is a multinational company based in the UK that manufactures and distributes food and personal care products to more than 170 countries around the world. The company also has 5 laboratories to conduct researches.
The history of Unilever traces back to 1872, when Jurgens and Van den Bergh opened factories in Netherlands to manufacture margarine. The company was named Lever & Co. The first Sunlight soap was introduced in 1884. They even built a factory for the exclusive manufacturing of the soap. By 1888, new factories were built in Germany, thereby expanding the company’s business. In 1890, the company was renamed Lever Brothers Ltd with headquarters in Rotterdam. The company became public in 1894. During the late 1800s, more products were launched including Vitello, Sunlight Flakes, and Lifebuoy soap.
Another new product for household cleaning was introduced in 1904 as more factories were opened in other European countries, Australia, Canada and the US. In 1911, the first research laboratory was built at Port Sunlight. It acquired Pears Soap in 1917. The next decade saw the acquisition of more companies like Niger Company, British Oil and Cake Mills, and Wall’s. It also launched new varieties of margarine such as Viking. The same year, the Margarine Unie union of margarine manufacturers was created. On Sept 2 1929, the Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie merged to form Unilever.
During the mid 1930s, more products were introduced. Soap powders came into the market during this time. Margarine was made more nutritious by the addition of vitamins A and D. Even though the Second World War had adverse effects on the company’s production, it survived and continued its expansion after the war. During the war period, it offered free mobile washing services for the people in London. In 1943, the company acquired Batchelor’s, makers of frozen and canned food. Sunsilk shampoo was introduced in 1954, and in 1958, it purchased Vita NV. It also acquired Good Humor ice cream in 1961. Unilever became the largest manufacturers of tea by the acquisition of Lipton International.
Paul Polman is the current CEO of the company. Today, Unilever has branches in Asia, Africa, Oceania, USA, and Europe.
Company headquarters: Unilever House 100 Victoria Embankment, London, United Kingdom Ownership: Public
Annual revenue: $96.88 billion
Number of employees: 167,000
Geography: More than 170 countries
Demography: Natural and Organic
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