Unilever Nigeria Plc recently declared its unaudited interim report for twelve months concluding December 31, 2023. The report disclosed a robust turnover of N97.4 billion. This marks an impressive 51% surge when juxtaposed with the N64.6 billion turnover recorded in the preceding year, 2022. Furthermore, the company communicated the cessation of production and sales activities in its homecare and skin-cleansing segments in December.

Tim Kleinebenne, the Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria, highlighted the significant strides made in 2023, attributing the success to operational efficiency, strategic cost optimization, a purposeful brand portfolio, and the expansion of market share across pivotal categories. He said, “Unilever Nigeria is committed to further fortifying its operations in the country, ensuring the fulfilment of citizens’ needs through our top-tier brands, dedicated workforce, and operational excellence.”

Between 2022 and 2023, the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company demonstrated notable financial growth, reporting a gross profit of N29.8 billion. This figure represents a commendable 13.69% upswing when contrasted with the N26.3 billion recorded during the equivalent period in 2022. The net profit for the overall business witnessed a remarkable 88.89% surge, reaching N8.5 billion for the period concluding on December 31, 2023, in stark contrast to the N4.5 billion net profit reported for the corresponding period in 2022.

A little backstory

Almost a year ago, Unilever Nigeria Plc revealed its strategic decision to withdraw from certain segments of the Nigerian market, specifically discontinuing operations in the home care and skin cleansing categories. This bold move was driven by the company’s commitment to reconfigure its business model, with the primary goals of accelerating growth, ensuring sustained profitability, and better aligning with evolving consumer needs.

This transformative initiative resulted in the removal of renowned brands like OMO, Sunlight, and Lux from retail shelves. Unilever discontinued the production of home care products in June, with sales ceasing by September. However, the company extended the production and sale of skin cleansing category products until December 2023, further emphasising its strategic and phased approach to market repositioning.

After President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration announced the removal of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian business landscape encountered heightened difficulties. Small enterprises faced abrupt closures, while larger corporations initiated strategic adjustments to navigate the challenging environment. Larger corporations, including Unilever Nigeria, grappled with various challenges that disrupted production, such as foreign exchange scarcity, inadequate power supply, port congestion, multiple taxations, insecurity, poor infrastructure, and unfavourable government policies. But despite these adversities, Unilever Nigeria managed to remain profitable for the fiscal year ending in December 2023.

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