Unilever Doubles Central American Presence With Acquisition of Grupo Cressida

Unilever Doubles Central American Presence With Acquisition of Grupo Cressida

Business Editors

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 2, 2000

Unilever has agreed to acquire Grupo Cressida, a family-owned Central American laundry, soaps, foods and beverages company, for 314 million U.S. dollars cash. It will acquire all the assets and trademarks related to Cressida, doubling the size of Unilever’s business in the region.

The acquisition includes the transfer of approximately 2,500 employees and its strong sales and distribution network. Cressida will retain its snacks and palm plantation interests in Central America. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by the end of March, subject to contract conditions.

Cressida, founded in 1960 and based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with operations all across Central America, holds strong market positions in the powder detergents, laundry soap, foods and beverages markets. Its leading brands, which are common across the entire region, include Xedex in powder detergents, Xtra in soap bars and Natura’s for foods and beverages. All have had a history of continuous growth based on strong branding and innovation.

Ralph Kugler, president of Unilever’s Latin America business group, said: “The acquisition represents a perfect fit to Unilever in terms of brand portfolio and extended distribution. The combination of Cressida’s local strengths with Unilever’s existing joint venture in Unisola and international brands and expertise, will significantly enhance Unilever’s competitive position in Central America. It will create a strong base from which to generate growth and develop innovative products for the benefit of consumers.”

The acquisition of Cressida represents an important further step to strengthen Unilever’s position in core categories in North Latin America, enhancing at the same time its overall position in Latin America.

In 1999 Unilever acquired the home and personal care business (HPC) of Sociedad Industrial Dominicana, Dominican Republic, and a controlling interest in the Varela HPC business in Colombia.

This investment demonstrates Unilever’s commitment to growing its presence in Latin America, where its 1999 sales totalled 4.6 billion U.S. dollars and operating profit was 453 million U.S. dollars.

UNILEVER BACKGROUND: Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies with sales in excess of $45 billion. It produces and markets a wide range of foods, home and personal care products. Unilever operates in 88 countries around the globe and employs 255,000 people.

In the United States, Unilever sales exceeded $8 billion in 1999. It employs 21,000 people and has 66 offices and manufacturing sites in 23 states. Two of Unilever’s 12 global Business Groups are headquartered in the United States. Some of their major products are: Unilever Home and Personal Care – North America: Wisk, all and Surf laundry detergents; Snuggle and Final Touch fabric softeners; Sunlight dish detergents; Lever 2000, Caress, Dove and Shield bar soaps; Pond’s and Vaseline skin care products; Q-tips cotton swabs and cotton balls; Mentadent, Aim, Close-up and Pepsodent oral care products; Degree, Suave and Brut deodorant/toiletry products; Finesse, Salon Selectives, Suave, ThermaSilk, Aqua Net and Rave hair care products; and Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden cosmetic and fragrance products. Foods – North America: Lipton teas, soups, recipe products and side dishes; Wish-Bone salad dressings; Lawry’s seasonings and specialty sauces; Imperial, Promise, Country Crock, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!”, Brummel & Brown spreads and sprays; Ragu pasta and pizza sauces; Five Brothers premium pasta sauces; Klondike, Good-Humor, Popsicle and Breyers ice cream products, and Gorton’s frozen seafood products

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