Unilever confirms major UK investment
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 £40m 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, today we informed employees of our 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.
As we laid out at the outset of the review in June, a consequence of creating this hub is that the former Alberto Culver manufacturing site in Swansea and the former Sara Lee personal care factory in Slough will close by the end of 2013. Our distribution centre in Bridgend, which services the Swansea factory, will close, and we are announcing today that a third party facility in Deeside in North Wales will 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, we anticipate that these changes will result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK and the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles.
Amanda Sourry, Chairman – Unilever UK and Ireland, “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.
“We understand that many of our employees will be anxious at this time. That’s why we are today pledging a good package of support for employees who are adversely affected. We will consult fully on these measures, and are committed to conducting a sensitive and thorough consultation and helping our employees to understand their options for the future.”
Notes to Editors:
For further information about Unilever UK and Ireland, contact:
Katya Bridges UK & Ireland Media Relations Manager
M: 07785 450287
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 190. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.
Working to create a better future every day, we help people to feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including thirteen €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite, Flora, Wall’s, Lynx, Sure, Cif, Domestos and Pot Noodle.
Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemised in around 50 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.
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