The company’s history dates back to 1931 when Unilever set up its first Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company, followed by Lever Brothers India Limited (1933) and United Traders Limited (1935). These three companies merged to form Hindustan Lever Limited in November 1956. Effective July 19, 2007 the company has changed the name to Hindustan Unilever Limited. Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a subsidiary of Unilever, is a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company based in India.
The company focuses on efficient delivery to consumers with an improved supply chain, brand building initiatives and innovation which has helped the company to sustain its leadership position in the overall FMCG category in India. Hindustan Unilever is Unilever’s main operating business in India. It is the country’s biggest consumer goods company, and far and away the leading advertiser. HUL inhabits virtually every sector of the consumer goods market, including several not occupied by Unilever in other markets such as preserves and bakery products, and is also one of the country’s top five exporters.
In addition to FMCG products it is the country’s biggest exporter of tea. It is generally acknowledged to be one of India’s best-run businesses, although performance slowed dramatically between 2000 and 2004, prior to restructuring. Unilever, which sells soap to more than 500 million Indians, may see global revenue growth slow in 2010 as Procter & Gamble Co. and ITC Ltd. step up marketing in Asia’s third-biggest economy. The world’s second-largest consumer products maker has relied on accelerating shipments of Surf Excel detergent in India to make up for sluggish sales in Europe.
Now Cincinnati- based Procter & Gamble is stocking Indian stores with Olay skin- care products after nearly halving the local prices of Ariel and Tide detergents in 2004. Asia and Africa, which make up about a third of Unilever’s worldwide sales, will see their share of the company’s growth fall to 2 percent in 2010 from 3. 3 percent in 2007, according to Brussels-based brokerage Petercam SA. Revenue from the two continents rose 11. 4 percent in the first nine months of last year, helping offset 1. 9 percent growth in Europe and 4. 2 percent in North and South America.