Unilever is to cut 25,000 jobs as part of a global restructuring operation that will see it focus on a reduced range of 400 power brands. The restructure is part of a bid to achieve cost savings of around £1 billion over the next five years.
The Anglo-Dutch firm, whose brands range from Persil washing powder to Bird's Eye frozen food, is also to close 100 manufacturing sites.
The restructuring efforts will see Unilever concentrate on promoting 400 brands from its 1,600-strong product range. These brands will receive a boosted marketing spend. Unilever said it would invest £1 billion over five years on the slimmed down range.
According to a Unilever spokesman: "We see our future in a portfolio of strong brands with international and local scale. These will increasingly reach the consumer via a diversity of channels and a variety of communications media. That is at the heart of what we are announcing today."
Unilever also announced that it is to spend £130 million in 2000 alone on developing its e-business ventures. It has already announced two this year. These include Wowowgo.com, a site aimed at teenage girls, and a joint venture ecommerce venture with us women's website, iVillage.com.
The company reported 1999 pre-tax profits of £2.9 billion down five per cent compared with last year. Sales, however, were up two per cent at £27.6 billion.