Unilever to split off spreads division, but denies it's preparing for an exit

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever to separate spreads, denies it's preparing for an exit

Related tags: Management

Unilever is planning to set up a standalone business unit for its North American and European spreads, prompting speculation that it is planning a spin off - something bosses have denied.

The unit - to be called Unilever Baking, Cooking and Spreading - will give the business more focus and more freedom to take important decisions, chief financial officer Jean-Marc Huet revealed in an investor seminar Thursday.

"We're going to provide even more focus to this business, the speed of execution should increase over time, and the category will be permitted to take more radical action if required​.”

Spreads (leading brands include Flora, Becel and Rama), which account for 27% of Unilever’s food sales and 7% of its group sales, have been a drag on the business in recent years, with sales falling 3.2% in the first nine months of 2014, and falling 3.1% in 2013.

However, Unilever denied that it is preparing to make an exit. According to Reuters (click HERE​), Unilever insisted that the unit remained "a core part of our business and the cash delivery is important to us​”, adding: "We are not planning to sell or spin-off spreads​.”

Click on the link below to read about Unilever's recent transformation of its buttery spreads portfolio.

Unilever reboots buttery spreads: ‘We know that the perception of artificiality is our biggest barrier’

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