Unilever faces ú57m Power bill

Soap-to-food giant Unilever revealed that the Power manganese “accelerator” crisis of the past year will cost the company ú57m worldwide to write off the original Power formulation and stocks of its ingredient. Unilever had spent ú200m developing the Power range.

Unilever chairman Sir Michael Perry says: “The lessons of the Power fiasco have been learned and the internal processes within the group which caused it have been reviewed.”

In a statement, the company said: “While the European economies improved during the second part of the year, growth in Europe was restrained, partly because of the unsuccessful launch of the Power range of detergents in some countries.”

Unilever subsidiary, Lever Brothers’ managing director, Andrew Seth, who retires at the end of next month (MW February 17) has given an exclusive interview to Marketing Week in which he claims that the blame for Persil Power’s failure lies with the research laboratories and Procter & Gamble.

He also reveals the new ads for New Generation Persil. The new soap brand is intended to repair the damage done to the Persil brand: “The New Generation campaign will concentrate on the core values. It will be a return to the old-style Persil advertising,” he says. Seth is confident that returning to traditional values will succeed. Any reservations that consumers have with the brand won’t exist in six weeks time, he says.

News analysis, page 23

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