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New name for Lever Brothers

Staff Writer

LEVER Brothers (Pvt) Ltd has changed its name to Unilever South East Africa (Sea) and has invested $14 billion in its Zimbabwe operations.

lvetica, sans-serif”>The president of Unilever Africa Regional Group, Anton Lenstra, this week said the investment was a clear sign that his international group was confident that Zimbabwe’s economic climate “is still promising despite the current hiccups”.

Unilever Sea will operate as three different units in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe but at the same time belonging to the same company, whose head office will be based in Harare.

The latest changes come at a time when consumers have found products produced by Lever Brothers extremely difficult to find in supermarkets – especially after price controls were introduced by Industry and International Trade minister Herbert Murerwa two years ago.

The company manufactures home care, personal care and foods products such as Surf, Lifebuoy, Vaseline, Stork, Geisha, Key and Royco.

Lenstra said the consolidation of the portfolio would serve to empower and strengthen the Unilever trade mark and enable the company to reach more and more “ordinary people worldwide”.

The deputy minister of Industry and International Trade, Kenneth Manyonda, who was guest of honour at the launch said: “Despite the economic hurdles that the country is currently going through, it is pleasing to note that last year, despite the declining market and the harsh economic environment, the company registered growth in the business. I feel certain that with continued focus, the company can achieve far more than it has already achieved.”

Lever Brothers’ operations in Zimbabwe began in 1943 when it acquired the then Rhodesian Milling Company’s plant in Harare.

The company later bought the Progress Soap, Oil and Chemical Company in Bulawayo.

Lenstra said these acquisitions gave Lever Brothers a “positive foothold in the local market, which was previously supplied with Lever Brother’s products from South Africa”.

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