Unilever moots merger of Elida Gibbs and Lever Bros

Unilever is understood to be planning to merge its Elida Gibbs and Lever Brother’s operations after Elida Gibbs relocates its headquarters to Lever House in Kingston, Surrey.

The lease on Elida Gibbs’ current head office at Portman Square, London runs out at the end of this year and the toiletries and cosmetics operation will relocate in the new year.

Although the companies will exist as separate brands, it is understood that a single board will operate in the UK to administer the divisions.

Elida Gibbs has toiletries and personal care brands such as Pond’s, Timotei, Impulse and All Clear.

Lever Brother’s handles brands such as Lux and Dove in addition to detergent brands Persil, Surf, Radion and cleaning product Jif.

A spokesman for Unilever says that in some countries Elida Gibbs and Lever already work much closer than they do in the UK.

Unilever in this country merged its two subsidiaries, Brooke Bond Foods and Van den Bergh Foods, in January this year as part of a 490m restructuring programme.

The spokesman adds that he is unaware of any plan to merge the two divisions.

However, he confirms that the entire operations at the Elida Gibbs headquarters are relocating at the start of 1996.

Unilever’s pre-tax profits for the year to September were up nine per cent at 1.9bn, on sales six per cent higher at 23bn.

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