Unilever’s Sale Of Thailand Direct Selling Business Doesn’t Quiet Investors Calling For Change
Response to sale of Unilever’s direct selling business in Thailand, Unilever Life, like its recent failed bid for GSK consumer and its elimination of 1,500 management staff, exposes disconnect between its priorities and its shareholders preferences.
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Opening the company’s fiscal 2021 full-year earnings call, Unilever leadership assured investors it will not make any GSK-sized offers in the foreseeable future as it commits to organic growth and reshaping its portfolio more surgically through bolt-on deals and selective disposals.
Around 1,500 senior and junior management roles will be cut under Unilever’s announced plan to reshape its corporate matrix, the firm reports on 25 January. The news comes a day after reports that activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management has taken a stake in the business.
GSK says London-based Unilever's £50bn bid for Consumer Healthcare fundamentally undervalues a business which generated sales close to £10bn last year and is expected to grow 4-6% over the medium term. The rejection has not dissuaded Unilever, however, with the company intent on stepping up its presence in the health, beauty and hygiene categories.