Kissan brand jams, made by Hindustan Unilever (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg News)

Unilever Expects HUL To Grow Much Faster

Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever wants subsidiary Hindustan Unilever Ltd., the country's largest consumer goods player, to contribute at least 15 percent of the group topline that is currently under 10 percent, Paul Polman, who stepped down as CEO in December said.

Unilever owns over 67 percent in HUL which had reported sales of Rs 34,619 crore in financial year 2018, while the parent, present in over 190 countries, had an annual turnover of 53.7 billion euros in 2017.

Though contributing only a shade lower that 10 percent of the topline now, HUL is the second largest unit for the company after the U.S.

"HUL is growing at twice the rate of the group so far, and there is no reason why it will not exceed the 10 percent (revenue share) over time. We serve 1.3 billion people here. You have a population that's 15 percent of the world's. You should by any standards be above 15 percent (of the group revenue)," Polman who was at the helm of the Levers for almost a decade and retired in December 2018.

Stating that India as a market is worth investing in and growing he said, the recent acquisition of Glaxosmithkline's consumer business globally, will further fuel this growth.

"I am already thinking bigger than 10 percent," Polman, who is currently helping his successor Alan Jope in transition till May said on the sidelines of the annual Nasscom leadership summit here, said without setting a time- frame for the same.

In probably, what was his last deal, Polman had finalised acquisition of GSK’s consumer business in the country for Rs 31,700 crore in December.

When asked if the FMCG major has set a timeframe for the 15 percent revenue share target, he said, "ask the local management. I am sure they are working harder."

Also read: HUL’s Strong Performance In 2018 Drives Unilever’s Volume Growth

He further said at "the current growth rate we have more than doubled in my 10 years and there is no reason why we cannot continue on that trajectory. The Indian economy is helping. It is one of the best performing economies in the world. If the rural areas get prosperous, it will help companies like ours."

The 62-year-old Dutchman credited HUL chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta for the GSK deal and expressed confidence that the acquired brands would become more successful.

"It cost me a little bit of money, but I also have so much confidence in our people in HUL that they have consistently delivered and over-delivered the results. They will make this brand more successful than its previous owners. And GSK fits with our food business," he said.

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