Unilever further strengthens home & personal care business

EU Competition Authorities approve Unilever’s acquisition of Sara Lee Personal Care and European Laundry business.

London - Unilever has today received clearance from the European Commission for its acquisition of the Personal Care and European Laundry business of the Sara Lee Corporation. Unilever will complete the transaction in 2010, significantly strengthening both regional and local positions in Personal Care by adding number one brands including Radox, Duschdas and Neutral.

The acquisition of these market winning brands complements Unilever’s existing category leading portfolio of iconic brands such as Axe, Dove and Rexona. With this extended range, the business can cover a wider spectrum of price points and better meet the demands of more consumers in more markets. As a result, Unilever expects to be able to stimulate further growth in an intensely competitive market.

Approval of the transaction follows the satisfactory completion of a detailed review by the European Commission, during which Unilever has undertaken to divest the Sanex brand in the European market.

Doug Baillie, President of Western Europe said: “We are pleased to have received the green light from the European Commission for this deal and we look forward to adding these important brands to our business. Home and Personal Care is a key growth category and we are acquiring a number of leading brands that fill gaps in our portfolio, improve the shape of our overall European portfolio, while offering significant potential for development in other geographies.”

In addition to Radox, Duschdas and Neutral, the deal includes local category leaders such as Biotex in Laundry, Zwitsal and Fissan in Baby Care and Prodent and Zendium in Oral Care. Together these brands will enhance Unilever’s category mix and deliver breadth and depth to its already very successful portfolio.

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About the acquisition

Unilever will be paying €1.2 billion in cash for the Sara Lee Personal Care and European Laundry business. The Sara Lee brands which will be acquired generated annual sales in excess of €750 million for the year ending June 2009.

Safe Harbour 

This document may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘believes’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, including any financial objectives, and their negatives are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, economic slowdown, industry consolidation, access to credit markets, recruitment levels, reputational risks, commodity prices, continued availability of raw materials, prioritization of projects, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, consumer demands, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, the ability to complete planned restructuring activities, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the 20-F Report and the Annual Report and Accounts 2009. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


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