Unilever, the world’s third-biggest food and consumer goods company, is to cut thousands of jobs and sell poorly-performing businesses, to speed up recovery and fight surging costs. It will close or streamline some 50 of its 300 factories, and shed up to 20,000 jobs in a drive to save one and a half billion euros a year by 2010. The cuts will be mainly in Europe, over the next four years. Unilever is a wideranging business, whose many brands include Dove soap, Knorr soups, Magnum ice creams and Sunsilk shampoo. In response to the news, shares in the Anglo-Dutch giant rose as much as eight and a half percent on hopes it is turning the corner after years of poor performance. The company also posted better-than-expected second quarter results, beating analysts’ forecasts. It now expects full-year sales growth to come in at the upper end of its three-to-five percent target band. Unilever has been steadily recovering from a shock profits warning in 2004. But it has generally lagged behind rivals such as Switzerland’s Nestle in food, and US consumer products giant Procter and Gamble.
Job cuts and factory closures in Unilever recovery plan