Unilever Splits Off Business Unit to “Streamline Operations”

Unilever Splits Off Business Unit to “Streamline Operations”

In a bid to streamline operations and focus on its core strengths, Unilever has announced plans to separate its ice cream unit, which houses iconic brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum. The move follows a broader restructuring effort initiated by CEO Hein Schumacher, who took the helm in July 2023.

The ice cream division, which generated €7.9 billion in revenue in 2023, will become an independent commercial entity designed to optimize brand performance. The restructuring is expected to affect approximately 7,500 jobs globally.

In a statement, the consumer goods giant said its goal is to create a more agile and efficient company “enabled by investment in technology.” The wider restructuring effort is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

Unilever says it will create four distinct business divisions (Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, and Nutrition) to drive growth and increase profitability. The multinational further explained that its actions will drive greater earnings: “The board believes that Unilever should increasingly focus on a portfolio of unequivocally superior brands with strong positions in very attractive categories that have complementary operating models.”

“After separating Ice Cream and applying the productivity program, Unilever will have a structurally higher margin,” added the company.

The restructuring is expected to generate total cost savings of approximately €800 million ($868 million) over the next three years. Following the announcement, Unilever shares saw a 5.6% increase, though they later adjusted to trade up by 4.1% at 9:20 a.m. London time.

Ben & Jerry’s dates back to 1978 when founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first shop in Vermont. Acquired by Unilever in 2000, Ben & Jerry’s has maintained its longstanding commitment to social and environmental causes, occasionally generating controversy.

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