Hindustan Unilever (or HUL) is Unilever's main operating business in India. It dominates the local packaged goods sector with an unrivalled presence right across this vast country from urban centres to rural villages. The portfolio houses 35 brands across a range of sectors, a broad mix of international brands and local jewels. Local top-seller is Surf Excel laundry detergent, supported by Wheel and Rin. Combined sales are close to $1bn. However the group's biggest business overall is personal care, led by Lifebuoy soap and Fair & Lovely skincare. Key supporting brands include Lakme cosmetics, Dove, Clinic Plus shampoo and Ponds skincare. In addition to FMCG products it is the country's biggest exporter of tea. The company's domestic portfolio is led by Brooke Bond and its sub-brands Taj Mahal, Taaza and 3 Roses. In 2018, the company agreed to acquire malted drink Horlicks and other nutritional brands owned by GlaxoSmithKline. Another key local jewel is Kissan, the market-leader in jams, ketchup, spreads and soft-drink squashes. Hindustan Unilever is widely considered to be one of India's best-run businesses. Unlike rival multinationals who tend to target their products at wealthier urban customers, HUL has always made a point of marketing to rural communities with as much vigour as it targets the Indian middle classes. Among its several initiatives is the Shakti project which allows local women to earn their own livelihoods as re-sellers of its products. Another encourages better hygiene in rural villages, especially regular handwashing and good toilet habits. Unilever controls a majority stake in the company, but the remaining shares are publicly quoted in India. Sanjiv Mehta is chairman & managing director. Revenues for the year to Mar 2018 were approx €4.4bn. Personal care accounted for almost half that sum, and home care for a third.
Capsule checked 7th December 2018
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Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Dec 2018: Unilever secured the prize in a bidding war for malted drink Horlicks, Boost and other nutritional beverages owned by GlaxoSmithKline. It saw off a rival bid from Nestle. Though Horlicks has only a marginal presence nowadays in Europe, it remains a mammoth brand in India and neighbouring countries with annual sales of around €550m. Under the deal with GSK, Hindustan Unilever will acquire the former's publicly listed local subsidiary GSK Consumer Healthcare India as well as various other operations in India for a combined total consideration of €4.6bn, mostly to be paid in HUL shares.
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