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Unilever is one of the largest companies in the world having billions of their products consumed daily all over the world. The company has over four hundred brands being used daily in our homes for cooking cleaning and so on. The company has a record of investing over one billion united states dollars to new research every year, the company has also five world class laboratories located all over the world for testing the new ideas. With the changing times the company has the capacity to produce products that march the challenges. Unilever being a global company has also invested a lot at local communities where the different groups are located.
The company in the United States alone employs over eight thousand people and generate over eight billion dollars in sales per year. The vision of the company is laid on four main pillars such as creating a better future for all, by use of their brands they help people feel good about themselves, believes in one thing at a time to sum up one huge change over time and the expansion of the business while minimising the environmental effects.
The company was formed in 1930 as a union of Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie of the Netherlands and Lever Brothers Limited of the United Kingdom companies that had already been operating prior to the twentieth century. The business grew very well and in the 1930s it ventured into the Latin America. The other major development occurred in 1972 when the company bought the Canadian division of the A & W restaurants.
As the business grew the profits from soap and edible oils contributed only 40% of the profits compared to 90% in the previous. In 1980 the company bought the brook bond which was famous for production pg tips tea. In 1987 the company stamped its authority in it market by buying Chesebrough a maker of Vaseline, ragu among other things. By the year 2000 the company had gone multinational operating in the entire globe with Antarctica as an option. With the high level of workmanship there have been several recognitions like human rights campaign both for the workers and the rest of the world. The company has been recognised for its sustainable development programs, good leadership among the industrial world and also being the top brand promoter with respect to consumer needs.
The company although having two main components operates as one business group the unilever group. The two original companies the N.V Rotterdam and the P.L.C London have completely varied legal recognition and even in the stock exchange the trading is performed individually. But the management and governance of the company is the same to ensure that there unity in operation of the business.
The company has the equalisation agreement which ensures that both parties enjoy equal rights to the business and also the dividends issued. The agreement creates a one to one equilibrium for the trading shares in the stock exchange. The company is currently trading in the London, New York and Amsterdam stock exchanges. Ordinary shares of the unilever PV (ISIN NL0000388619) and the depository receipts for the same shares are listed in the euronext in Amsterdam and as registry shares in the New York stock exchange (CUSIP 904784709).
Both of these items are traded at an exchangeable rate of one is to one. The counterpart P.L.C, ha the same details but trading in London stock exchange (ISIN GB00B10RZP78). The ordinary and for the American depository receipts in the new York stock exchange as (CUSIP 904767704) The dividends paid out by the company has risen to four from the year two thousand in the months of March, June, September and December but the payment dates vary yearly. The share holders are also capable of turning their dividends into shares once they are paid out. The company also conduct annual general meeting where share holders can vote for the different officials and this is determined by the number of shares one holds in the company. The total ordinary shares for the PV are 1 714 727 700 and each is valued at € 0.16 and those of P.L.C are 1 310 156 361 valued at three and a one ninth pence. The legal trading structure is represented in the flow chart below;
Business operation structure
The structure has a executive director Paul Polman, non-executive directors (Michael Treschow, Professor Genevieve Berger, Malcolm Rifkind, Ann Fudge, Kees J. Storm, Byron E. Grote, Louise Fresco, Charles E. Golden, Hixonia Nyasulu, Paul Walsh, Jeroen van der Veer, Sunil Bharti Mittal), unilever executive and the senior corporate officers. The managerial class in the unilever which oversee the daily operation is comprised of the group chief executive officer who is responsible for all the existing regional companies.
The president is also termed as category president and is responsible for the generation of category strategies, innovative tasks and brand improvement. there are also other official who work at overall levels who include the finance and information technology;Jean-Marc Huet, human resource; Doug Baillie, marketing; Keith Weed, research and development; Professor Geneviève Berger and the chief supply chain officers; Pier Luigi Sigismondi.
There are also regional presidents; Jan Zijderverld, Western Europe, Harish Manwani Asia, Africa, Central & Eastern Europe and Dave Lewis, America. They are responsible for deploying of brands, innovating new skills and getting customers in their respective regions. The management ensures that the unilever objectives are attained. They include driving the volume growth the brands to the top of the market, creating a sustainable and consistent operation margin and a significant cash flow in the company. In 2010 the company managed to achieve a sale growth of 4.1 % and a cash flow of 3.4 billion Euros. The unilever corporate structure is illustrated below.
The brands that give the company competition are also internationally recognised they include brands like the Procter & Gamble and the Nestle. The brands that cause competition at local levels include Mars, Inc., S.C. Johnson & Son, Henkel, General Meals, Conagra, Reckitt Benckiser, Danone and PepsiCo. These companies are also specialised in producing products similar in function with those of unilever making it very competitive to retain a customer.
Products and services
The company produces several types of foods which are consumed all over the world. The company’s success is based on their ability to know what people want to eat and how to present it. In their research and development centres they also test the quality of their products to ensure it is of high nutritional value and safe for consumption. Most common brands include the following; becel & flora, bertolli, heartbrand, knorr, slim fast, blue band & rama, Hellmann’s & Amora and Lipton.
Home care supplies
These products have penetrated many homes and they are being used by over two billion individuals every day. The products have tested and proofed for home use to avoid having toxic products. They include omo, sunlight, radiant, cif, domestos, surf and comfort.
Personal care items
These are many they include rexona, Vaseline, lifebuoy, sun silk, signal & close-up, tigi, dove, ponds, axe and lux. Other products closely related to personal care are the beauty, health & hygiene items.
The company does not specialize in providing services but there are cases where services are provided to cater for the market. They carry out seminars which educate people on how to avoid things like breast cancer through use of substandard products; they teach people how to style up for different occasions and general healthy eating habits. Apart from providing service for product market the company has been involved in several environmental conservation activities. The company has made its responsibility to ensure that all its raw materials are obtained in a sustainable manner. The company has also reduced the carbon foot print of each of their products and providing quality and affordable products for the whole family health. It has also eliminated the animal testing program which was widely being used to test products before release into the market.
The company has several measures to estimate the depreciation value at the end of every financial year. The company uses the straight line method to calculate its depreciation. Some of the assets’ estimated useful lives are free hold structures are 40 years, plant and equipment have 2-20 years, automobiles are 3-6 years and lease held land has a life time of usefulness. The company has a record of intangible assets worthy seventeen million Euros and the tangible assets are well over two hundred and ninety one million Euros.
Future of unilever
The overview of the statement shows an upward trend in all the business transactions. The company is doing exceptionally well and the business will be doing well in the future if the good business management is maintained. The company has also registered an improvement in the market share. A diagrammatic representation of the overview of the 2010 annual report.