Unilever has effectively ditched a raft of brands in the UK, including Mentadent toothpaste and Brut cologne, transferring marketing, sales and distribution to the broker Ceuta Healthcare, in order to focus on its core products.
Ceuta will take over the toothpaste brands Signal and Mentadent, Shield soap, Pond’s skincare and Brut in the UK. Unilever retains the brands’ manufacturing operations.
Unilever sold Mentadent and Brut in the US earlier this year. However, a Unilever spokesman in the UK denies that this partial divestiture precedes a total sale of the brands.
A spokesman says: “We have passed the brands to Ceuta as a management and distribution agent. Ceuta will give the brands support, while we are focusing on our core brands.”
There has been a question mark over non-core Unilever brands since the company announced its Path to Growth strategy, which will see its brand count whittled from 1,400 to a core 400. However, industry sources say brands such as Signal and Brut still have a market in the UK.
One industry source says: “Unilever is not going to waste time and energy on trying to perk up these mature brands. They are far from dying, but they are still below the radar for a company such as Unilever, which prefers to focus on its mega-brands such as Dove and Lynx.”