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Hindustan Unilever Ltd

BSE Code : 500696 | NSE Symbol : HINDUNILVR | ISIN:INE030A01027| SECTOR: -FMCG |

Company Background

Hindustan Unilever Ltd was incorporated on 17th October 1933 as Lever Brothers India Ltd. The Company is in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business comprising primarily into four business segments such as, home care, personal care, foods and refreshments. Soaps and detergents include soaps, detergent bars, detergent powders and scourers. Personal products include products in the categories of oral care, skin care (excluding soaps), hair care, talcum powder and color cosmetics. Beverages include tea and coffee. Foods include staples (atta, salt and bread) and culinary products (tomato-based products, fruit-based products and soups). Ice creams include ice creams and frozen desserts. Others include chemicals and water business.

HUL's product portfolio includes leading household brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond's, Vaseline, Lakme, Dove, Clinic Plus, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup, Axe, Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality Wall's and Pureit. HUL is a subsidiary of Unilever, one of the world's leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and an annual sales turnover of 52.7 billion in 2016.

In 1956, Hindustan Vanaspati Mfg. Co. Ltd. and United Traders Ltd merged with the company and the name was changed from Lever Brothers Ltd to Hindustan Lever Ltd. The company acquired Lipton in 1972, and in 1977 Lipton Tea (India) Ltd was incorporated. Brooke Bond joined the Unilever fold in 1984 through an international acquisition. Pond's (India) Ltd joined the Unilever fold through an international acquisition of Chesebrough Pond's USA in 1986.

The liberalization of the Indian economy, started in 1991, clearly marked an inflexion in the company' s and the Group's growth curve. The removal of the regulatory framework allowed the company to explore every single product and opportunity segment, without any constraints on production capacity. Simultaneously, deregulation permitted alliances, acquisitions and mergers.

The erstwhile Tata Oil Mills Company (TOMCO) merged with the company with effect from April 1, 1993. In the year 1996, the company and Lakme Ltd formed a 50:50 joint venture company namely, Lakme Unilever Ltd, to market Lakme's market-leading cosmetics and other appropriate products of both the companies. Subsequently in 1998, Lakme Ltd sold its brands to the company and divested its 50% stake in the joint venture to the company.

In the year 1994, the company and US-based Kimberly Clark Corporation formed a 50:50 joint venture company namely, Kimberly-Clark Lever Ltd, which markets Huggies Diapers and Kotex Sanitary Pads. The company also set up a subsidiary in Nepal, Unilever Nepal Limited (UNL), and its factory represents the largest manufacturing investment in the Himalayan kingdom.

In the year 1992, the erstwhile Brooke Bond acquired Kothari General Foods, with significant interests in Instant Coffee. In the year 1993, it acquired the Kissan business from the UB Group and the Dollops Icecream business from Cadbury India. As a measure of backward integration, Tea Estates and Doom Dooma, two plantation companies of Unilever, were merged with Brooke Bond. Then in the year 1994, Brooke Bond India and Lipton India merged to form Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd (BBLIL), enabling greater focus and ensuring synergy in the traditional Beverages business. Finally, BBLIL merged with the company with effect from January 1, 1996.

The internal restructuring culminated in the merger of Pond's (India) Limited (PIL) with HUL in 1998. The two companies had significant overlaps in Personal Products, Speciality Chemicals and Exports businesses, besides a common distribution system since 1993 for Personal Products. The two also had a common management pool and a technology base.

In January 2000, the government decided to award 74 per cent equity in Modern Foods to the company, thereby beginning the divestment of government equity in public sector undertakings (PSU) to private sector partners. The company's entry into bread is a strategic extension of the company's wheat business. In 2002, the company acquired the government's remaining stake in Modern Foods.

In the year 2002, the company made its foray into Ayurvedic health & beauty centre category with the Ayush product range and Ayush Therapy Centres. In the year 2003, the company acquired the Cooked Shrimp and Pasteurised Crabmeat business of the Amalgam Group of Companies, a leader in value added Marine Products exports. Also, the company launched Hindustan Unilever Network, Direct to home business. In the year 2004, the company launched 'Pureit' water purifier.

In the year 2005, Lever India Exports Ltd, Lipton India Exports Ltd, Merry weather Food Products Ltd, Toc Disinfectants Ltd and International Fisheries Ltd were amalgamated with the company. In February 2006, Vasishti Detergents Ltd (VDL) merged with the company. In September 2006, Modern Foods Industries (India) Ltd and Modern Foods & Nutrition Industries Ltd was merged with itself. In October 2006, the company divested its 51% controlling stake in Unilever India Shared Services Ltd, now known as Capgemini Business Services (India) Limited (CGSL) to Cap Gemini SA.

In March 2007, Sangam Direct, a non-store home delivery retail business, operated by Unilever India Exports Ltd (UIEL), a fully owned subsidiary was transferred to Wadhavan Foods Retail Pvt Ltd (WFRPL) on a slump sale business. Also, the company carried out demerger of its operational facilities in Shamnagar, Jamnagar and Janmam and formed three independent companies, namely Shamnagar Estates Pvt. Ltd, Jamnagar Properties Pvt Ltd and Hindustan Kwality Walls Foods Pvt Ltd. In June 2007, the company changed its name from Hindustan Lever Ltd to Hindustan Unilever Ltd.

In the year 2008, the company announced its collaboration with the Indian Dental Association (IDA) in conjunction with World Dental Federation (FDI) through its Pepsodent, leading oral care brand to help improve the oral health and hygiene standards in India. In April 2008, the company demergered and transferred certain immoveable properties to Brooke Bond Real Estates Pvt Ltd. In January 2010, the company inaugurated the new corporate office of the company.

In April 2010, the company approved the scheme of amalgamation of Bon Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hindustan Unilever Ltd., with the company. The appointed date for the abovementioned scheme was April 01, 2009 and the scheme shall be effective from April 28, 2010. Consequent to the amalgamation, Bon Ltd ceased to be a subsidiary of the company.

During the year 2010-11, Kissan forayed into new market segment in three big categories. It launched Kissan Fruit & Soya, a delicious blend fruit juice and soya milk, which enjoys a differentiated proposition in this market. The brand also entered into the Indian (non-sweet) spreads market with the launch of Kissan Creamy Spread across key towns. In Bakery division, the company launched two new products, namely Chapi and Cream Rolls.

During the year, the company divested 43.31% stake in Hindustan Field Services Pvt Ltd in favor of Smollan Group (the jv partner). Thus, Hindustan Field Services Pvt. Ltd. ceased to be a subsidiary company. Lakme Lever Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of HUL, expanded the network of Lakme Beauty Salons during the year with the opening of 11 company owned and managed salons, along with 18 franchisee salons.

In December 2011, the company demerged the FMCG exports business including specific exports related manufacturing units of the company into its wholly owned subsidiary Unilever India Exports Ltd (UIEL). The scheme became effective from January 1, 2012.

In 2012, the company enters into agreement with Unilever to market Brylcreem in India. During the year under review, the company and entities of Piramal Realty (Ajay Piramal Group) signed an agreement for assignment of HUL's leasehold rights of the land and building named Gulita situated at Worli Sea Face, Mumbai, for a transaction value of Rs. 452.5 Crores (Rupees Four Hundred and Fifty Two Crores and Fifty lakhs only).

On 22 January 2013, the Board of Directors of HUL approved a proposal to sign a new agreement with its parent company Unilever for the provision of technology, trade mark license and other services effective 1 February 2013. The new agreement envisages that the existing royalty cost of 1.4% of turnover payable by HUL to Unilever will increase, in a phased manner, to a royalty cost of 3.15% of turnover no later than the financial year ending 31 March 2018, i.e. a total estimated increase of 1.75% of turnover. The increase in royalty cost, in the period from 1 February 2013 to 31 March 2014 is estimated to be 0.5% of turnover, and thereafter in a range of 0.3% to 0.7% of turnover in each financial year, leading up to a total estimated royalty cost increase of 1.75% of turnover compared to existing arrangements, no later than the financial year ending 31 March 2018.

In 2014, Unilever announces a partnership with, a Facebook-led alliance of partners, to understand better how Internet access can be increased to reach millions more people across rural India. The company also launches Prabhat initiative for community development in villages around its factories during the year under review. The company also enters into partnership with MTV to endorse its brands during the year under review.

In 2015, the company launched The Unilever Foundry. During the year under review, the company was recognized as the most innovative marketer on mobile, at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). The company also revives Ayush with e-launch during the year. The company also launched Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat' programme in India during the year under review.

On 8 September 2015, HUL announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale and transfer of its bread and bakery business under the brand Modern to Nimman Foods Private Limited, an investee company of the Everstone Group, for an undisclosed consideration. The transaction includes sale and transfer of the Modern brand and business on a going concern basis.

On 17 December 2015, HUL announced that it had signed an agreement with Mosons Group to acquire its flagship Indulekha premium Ayurvedic hair oil brand. The deal envisages the acquisition of the trademarks Indulekha' and Vayodha', intellectual property, design and know-how, for a consideration of Rs 330 crore, payable upon closing of the transaction and a deferred consideration of 10% on the domestic turnover of the brands each year, payable annually for a 5 year period commencing FY 2018.

The Board of Directors of HUL at its meeting held on 15 January 2016 considered and approved a Scheme of Arrangement between the company and its shareholders for payout of the entire balance of Rs 2187.33 crore standing to the credit of the General Reserves in Balance Sheet. The Scheme of Arrangement envisages the transfer of the entire balance of Rs 2187.33 crore standing to the credit of the General Reserves to the Profit and Loss Account and its subsequent payout to the company's shareholders.

On 17 March 2016, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of its Rice Exports business carried out primarily under the brands Gold Seal Indus Valley' and Rozana', to LT Foods Middle East DMCC, a Group Company of LT Foods Limited (owner of Daawat'). The deal envisages transfer of the brands and inventory for a consideration of Rs 25 crore, subject to adjustments on closing.

HUL's new personal products factory in Doom Dooma, Assam was formally inaugurated 6 September 2017. The new factory, that will manufacture products for leading HUL brands, such as Fair & Lovely, Pond's, Vaseline, Sunsilk, Clinic Plus, TRESemm & Dove, commenced commercial production on 15 March 2017. HUL, along with its partners has invested Rs 1000 crores in the project.

On 29 September 2017, HUL announced that it had signed an agreement for divestment of its entire 50% shareholding in Kimberly-Clark Lever Private Limited (KCL) in favour of its joint venture partner Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KCC), USA. KCL sells infant care diapers as its primary product category under the brand Huggies. It also sells feminine care products under the brand Kotex.

During the year 2017, the Company sold the movable assets and inventory of the leather business to Hindustan Foods Limited and thereby, discontinued the business operations.