Unilever to cut 7,500 jobs globally and split off ice-cream division | Unilever

Unilever is to cut 7,500 jobs globally as part of an overhaul aimed at saving about €800m (£684m) over the next three years.

The consumer goods company, whose brands range from Marmite to Dove soap and Lynx deodorant, employs 128,000 people worldwide, including 6,000 in the UK.

Unilever said staff would be consulted about the cuts, but did not reveal where they would be made.

It outlined a productivity programme to deliver cost savings of about €800m over the next three years and announced plans to spin off its ice-cream business.

The division makes five of the world’s top-selling 10 ice-cream brands, including Wall’s, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s. It also makes Cornetto, Viennetta, Carte d’Or and Breyers, which is big in the US.

A demerger of the division, which has annual revenues of €7.9bn, is the most likely outcome, although Unilever is also considering other options. It expects the spin-off to be completed by the end of 2025.

Following the separation, Unilever will be left with four divisions – beauty and wellbeing, personal care, home care and nutrition.

Ian Meakins, the Unilever chair, said: “The separation of ice-cream and the delivery of the productivity programme will help create a simpler, more focused and higher-performing Unilever. It will also create a world-leading ice-cream business, with strong growth prospects and an exciting future as a standalone business.”

Hein Schumacher, who was appointed as chief executive in January 2023, taking over from Alan Jope, said: “Under the growth action plan we have committed to do fewer things, better, and with greater impact.”

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Matt Britzman, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Unilever says bye-bye to Ben & Jerry’s with its plans to ditch the ice-cream unit … Action is what shareholders wanted to see from the new team at the top, and that’s what’s been delivered today. Ice-cream always looked like the odd one out when you compare it to other product lines, and performance has struggled of late. It’s not a huge shock to see this move, but it’s something prior management wasn’t able to deliver.”

Unilever’s shares were up more than 5% on Tuesday morning after the announcement, making it the top riser on the FTSE 100.

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