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Why Unilever plc (ADR) (UL) Is Betting on India

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Unilever plc (ADR)Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) is having a makeover in India. Recently, the consumer packaged goods company had a transitional shift in the Asia-Pacific region with the majority of its brands. With rival The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) cutting costs by $10 million by the end of 2016, this is an opportunity for Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) to scale up in categories destined for growth.

Investment in India

Investment in India is the key to Unilever’s international expansion. Emerging markets account for the fastest growing markets when it comes to sales growth within categories. With the rise of the middle class in China and India, there is a market ripe for product innovation and consumption as disposable income rises.

Hindustan Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL), the Indian division of Unilever, is not only reaching the middle class, but also the affluent and the aspiring middle class Indian as well. Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) increased its stake in Hindustan from 52.48% to 75%, the maximum that the state of India allows. With a vast makeover encompassing 95% of its brands, it redesigned brands for an initiative called Perfect Store, which launched  in 2011.

The Perfect Store model efficiently transforms the retail store to maximize shelf space and showcase new products. With these store makeovers, more than 3,000 employees transformed 16,000 stores to maximize product visualization and availability. When store sales slumped in 2009 with rival brands maximizing investments in India, Unilever changed the in-store business model and had a massive brand makeover. This model ensures that consumers have access to products and are educated in the quality behind the Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) brand. Unilever also overhauled supply chains to operate more efficiently for maximum store growth. This initiative has raised top line revenue for stores by over 4%.

From local to global

Taking on rival The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) ‘s home line for India; Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) is beefing up operations on all lines to compete with P&G’s soaps, shampoos, and detergents. The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG)impressively grew market share in 2009, which hastened the change in upper level management for Hindustan Unilever. This change in management forced Unilever to rethink core business strategies for targeted sales growth.

The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) also raised their stake in India as well. With revenue increasing by 29%, due to category growth and pricing, they launched a 1 billion dollar investment plan to increase investment across their 14 categories in which they sell goods. They also started production on a plant in China which will help supply chain demands and efficient selling practices. However, The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) has a weak product mix when it comes to category growth within brands. Brand recognition has been weak within the oral care line, with Oral-B the only competing brand, solely in the toothbrush market.

Hindustan Unilever plc (ADR) (NYSE:UL) plans to transform the consumer experience in the coming months. With the perfect store model, the local grocery store shelf transforming the shelf from local to global, as more and more consumers want the American products. With the investment from Unilever, supply chain efficiency is insuring a successful store model.

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