Unilever considers dropping traditional Dutch margarine brands Becel, Blue Band
While Unilever immediately rejected a recent takeover bid by American competitor Kraft Heinz, it seems their shareholders were less dismissive. They think that the British-Dutch company can do better and that changes should be made, NOS reports. On Thursday CEO Paul Polman announced that Unilever is considering getting rid of its margarine branch.
That means that traditional Dutch brands like Becel, Blue Band and Zeeuws Meisje may soon be a thing of the past, according to the broadcaster. Margarine has been part of the Unilever range since the company was established in 1930. Three years ago the product was placed in a separate business unit. And now it may be sold.
In addition to selling the margarine branch, the company also announced that it wants to get rid of its dual nationality. Unilever is an British-Dutch company, with headquarters in Rotterdam and London. Which headquarters will go will become clear before the end of the year.
Analyst Joost van Beek from Theodoor Gilissen thinks that the Rotterdam headquarters has a better chance of surviving. "Especially since we have very many jobs and research here. The Brexit obviously also plays a role and tax aspects"
Outside the margarine factory in Rotterdam, a group of shocked employees are smoking a cigarette. "What disappoints us tremendously is that we had to hear the news this morning in the press and weren't told anything in the workplace. We obviously want to know what this means for us", the oldest worker said to NOS. "But our leaders know nothing." "Or say they know nothing", another adds.
"It all started here. I've worked here for 37 years myself", the first employee continues. "And now we feel dismissed. We are apparently worth nothing more than this paper coffee cup."