Unilever attributes strong performance in 2022 to sale of global tea business

By Joseph Ekeng

In the last couple of years, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) giant Unilever has made several strategic changes to accelerate growth. This repositioning effort clearly has had an impact on its bottom line.

Last month, the firm announced strong growth results for the full year 2022, with 9.0% underlying sales growth and 14.5% turnover growth compared to the same period last year.

In a recent statement, which highlighted the impact of the restructuring efforts, Unilever CEO Alan Jope, specifically stressed that the sale of the firm’s global tea business and acquisition of Nutrafol played a major role in the company’s growth profile.

“Our new operating model is already unlocking a culture of bolder and more rapid decision-making with improved accountability,” said Jope.

“We continue to improve our growth profile, with the sale of the global Tea business and the acquisition of Nutrafol. We are increasingly realising the benefits of the reshaped portfolio, accelerated savings delivery and improved execution.

“There is more to do, but the changes we have made mean that we start 2023 with momentum, setting us up well for delivering another year of higher growth, which remains our priority.”

Unilever’s multi-billion dollar tea business, Ekaterra, was sold to the CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII.

Unilever and CVC had entered into an agreement for the sale of ekaterra in November 2021, for €4.5 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis; expecting to close in H2 2022.

In the same vein, the Nigerian subsidiary of the company disposed of its tea business to Unilever Tea MSO Nigeria Limited, a related party within the Unilever Group, for a considerable amount of N5.4 billion during the period ending December 31, 2021.

Before the Nigerian company’s business was discontinued in October 2021, it had a turnover of N9.05 billion from January – to September 2021, a 7.17% decline from what it generated in the corresponding period of 2020. However, the tea business moved from a loss position to rake in a profit of N2.72 billion in the 9-month period of 2021.


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