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Unilever reshapes its European foods research & development


22/11/2006 : Unilever today announced plans to reshape its Foods R&D organisation in Europe in order to further enable differentiated innovation. Foods R&D Europe will be restructured to provide the focus and critical mass that can deliver innovations for both the European and global market.
Organising for the future

The reorganisation is part of the One Unilever programme to increase leverage of its scale, improve its marketplace competitiveness, deliver functional excellence, and create a more competitive cost-structure allowing it to strengthen its focus on its consumers and customers.

Today’s announcement follows an extensive Science & Technology Review led by Vindi Banga, President of Unilever’s Foods Category. Vindi Banga said: “The review showed that we have great people and strong capabilities. However, it also showed that by organising ourselves so that we could leverage our scale and play to our strengths we could improve our market competitiveness. By getting the benefits of focus and synergies I am convinced that today’s announcement will make a significant difference to our innovation delivery.”

The new structure will see new product development concentrated in six Centres of Excellence across Europe. Each of these Centres of Excellence will establish a world-class technical capability that can be applied across the categories, for global, regional and local innovations. In addition, local adaptation and implementation of Foods innovations will be ensured through consolidated country and factory teams.

Vindi Banga said: “Unilever will implement these changes sensitively and professionally, with attention to all affected people. Unilever is committed to working closely with works councils and employees to minimise redundancies and to provide redundancy packages where needed, in line with local legislation and circumstances.”

Implementation of the changes in Unilever’s European Foods R&D organisation will commence in 2007 and be completed by the end of 2008.
Notes to Editors:

* The current European Foods R&D organisation employs 1,160 people in over 60 locations across Europe. As result of this reorganisation, Unilever will move to 29 Foods R&D locations in Europe. Unilever estimates that the reorganisation of Foods R&D Europe will result in a loss of approximately 240 jobs due to the change to a simpler, more focussed organisation. Unilever expects to relocate an additional 260 jobs to the consolidated Foods R&D centres across Europe.
* Unilever has informed its employees and European works council about these plans. The affected employees are being contacted to discuss personal impact and next steps.

About Unilever -

Unilever’s mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe. Its portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including twelve €1 billion brands and global leadership in many categories in which the company operates. The portfolio features brand icons such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Flora, Bertolli, Dove, Lux, Pond’s, Lynx, Sunsilk, Persil, Cif and Domestos.

Unilever has around 206,000 employees in approaching 100 countries and generated annual sales of €40billion in 2005. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit
Safe harbour statement:

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ’forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ’expects’, ’anticipates’, ’intends’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results and their negatives are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Annual Report & Accounts on Form 20-F. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.


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