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Unilever Confirms Major UK Investment and Restructuring

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Unilever Confirms Major UK Investment and Restructuring

Unilever Confirms Major UK Investment and Restructuring
September 17
10:33 2012

In June, Unilever announced some proposed changes to its UK business to help maintain and sustain its current success and strengthen its platform for long term growth. The proposals included making a major £40 million investment into a new manufacturing and IT hub at the company’s historic home, Port Sunlight, but also reducing the number of Unilever roles in the UK.

Following a three month review, Unilever has informed employees of its intention to proceed with these plans, subject to conducting consultation with all affected employees.

The investment will create around 150 new jobs at a new high-tech manufacturing facility for personal care products in the North West. Brands brought into the Unilever portfolio as a result of the recent acquisitions of Sara Lee’s personal care business and Alberto Culver will be transferred to Port Sunlight. Alongside this, an IT expertise centre will be established in Lever House to help the business respond more quickly to market developments and improve how it serves customers and consumers.

Together, the new facilities will complement the site’s existing strategic Research & Development centre and its three homecare manufacturing sites to create an unrivalled multi-functional hub within the Unilever organisation, optimising its global scale. They also demonstrate Unilever’s long-term commitment to the UK as a vital strategic centre in terms of research & development, manufacturing and business services as the home of its global headquarters.

However, a consequence of creating this hub is that the former Alberto Culver manufacturing site inSwansea and the former Sara Lee personal care factory in Slough will close by the end of 2013. The distribution centre in Bridgend, which services the Swansea factory, will close, but a third party facility in Deeside in North Waleswill serve as the distribution centre for the new Port Sunlight factory. This will result in the creation of around 50 new jobs in Deeside.

Unilever’s existing IT centre at St David’s Park, Ewloe, will close during 2014 with around 400 high capability roles relocating to Port Sunlight, just 15 miles away. It is expected that a number of other roles will move to Unilever’s IT centre in Bangalore.

In total, Unilever anticipates that these changes will result in a net reduction of around 500 roles in the UK and the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles.

Amanda Sourry, chairman of  Unilever UK and Ireland, says: “Following an extensive review, we have decided to move forward with proposals outlined in June. The investment into Port Sunlight will play a significant role in helping to maintaining and sustain our current success and competitiveness both in the UK and on a global scale.”

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. The group has more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of Eur46.5 billion in 2011.

80% of what Unilever sells in the UK is made in the UK. Over the last 2 years the company has increased the value of what it produces in and what its exports from the UK by 20%.

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