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Unilever plans $120mln investment for expansion

KARACHI: Unilever, one of the biggest fast-moving consumer goods multinationals, planned to invest $120 million in expansion of its manufacturing operation in the country over the next two years, a statement said on Monday.
Unilever said the announced investment is “acknowledging the country’s high potential for long-term growth”. “The announcement was made by a delegation of Unilever Pakistan that called on Miftah Ismail, minister of state and adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs,” the company added.
The central bank has already termed a growing consumer demand and improving buying power as prime reasons for broad-based growth that reached 5.3 percent during the last fiscal year of 2016/17, while government eyes six percent growth for the current fiscal year.
“With increasing consumer demand, several manufacturers announced new investments,” the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in a latest quarterly economic report. “Rising consumer demand… is also due to higher purchasing power and affordable access to credit facilities.”
Unilever said a majority of its planned investment will be made to enhance manufacturing operations across Unilever’s four factories in Pakistan over the next two years. “This is a testament to Unilever’s commitment to growing the business in Pakistan and highlights the increasing uptake of consumer good products across the country.”
Unilever’s operations in Pakistan are counted amongst the best performing businesses units within Unilever’s global operations. In 2013, UK-based Unilever Overseas Holding, which is a majority shareholder in Unilever Pakistan Limited, invested over €400 million in Pakistan which is the single largest foreign direct investment in the recent history of Pakistan.
Unilever Pakistan Foods recorded one of the highest revenue growths amongst major consumer staples companies, including Nestle and Engro Foods, in the past four years. Topline Securities, in a report, showed that Unilever Pakistan Foods enjoyed a 14 percent compound annual growth rate in sales and 16 percent in profit between 2012 and 2016.
SBP said rising income levels of consumers are fueling retail sales and commercial activities. “Businesses, meanwhile, are in the middle of an expansionary phase, with the international investors’ attention boosting the level of competition and quality in the domestic market.”
Shazia Syed, chairperson and chief executive officer of Unilever Pakistan Limited said the company has been a part of Pakistan’s growth for nearly 70 years, during which time “we have seen our business grow to over 30 brands in areas of home care, personal care, foods, beverages and ice cream”.
“We take pride in the fact that over 95 percent of our brands is produced locally, creating employment for thousands, contributing to the exchequer of the country and simultaneously creating a better future every day for the people of Pakistan,” the statement quoted Syed as saying.
Source: The News