Sale of DiverseyLever: Background information

Additional information regarding the sale of Diversey Lever to Johnson Wax Professional

Background Notes

  • Unilever's ‘Path to Growth’ strategy targets sustained sales growth of 5-6% and an improvement in operating margin before exceptional items and goodwill amortisation to over 16% by 2004. A cornerstone of this strategy is a greater focus of resource on leading brands.
  • Unilever's portfolio of leading brands currently represents 85% of sales on a full year basis. It has recently announced its intention to sell Unipath, some US Bestfoods brands and two European edible oil refineries. Unilever estimates that its leading brands will account for 95% of its business by year 2004.
  • DiverseyLever was created following Unilever's acquisition of Diversey in 1996 and its subsequent merging with Lever Industrial International. Proforma sales of DiverseyLever in the 12 months to June 2001 were €1.654 billion with an EBITDA of €208 million and an EBIT of €138 million.
  • The Diversey name is being sold as are all brands used exclusively by the current DiverseyLever operations. Transitional arrangements will be provided for the use by the combined business of the Lever name to allow sufficient time for the migration of the business to its new identity. DiverseyLever currently sells certain Unilever consumer brands to professional and cash-and-carry channels. These brands will be retained by Unilever and are not included in the sales and profit numbers quoted. A sales agency agreement will be set up for the new business to continue to sell and distribute these brands for a period of five years.
  • Unilever are being advised by Morgan Stanley.
Unilever PLC

Unilever House
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United Kingdom

+44 (0) 207 822 5252

Unilever NV

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3013AL Rotterdam

+31 (0) 10 217 4000

Safe harbour statement

This news release may contain forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995). Any forward-looking statements are based on current expectations with respect to important risk factors. It is important to note that the actual results could materially differ from the results anticipated in any forward-looking statements which may be contained in this presentation. Factors which might cause forward-looking statements to differ materially from actual results include, among other things, the failure to complete the sale of DiverseyLever, changes in the financing markets, delays associated with regulatory approvals for the sale, overall economic, political, social and business conditions, the demand for our goods and services, competition in the market, fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currencies, the impact and other uncertainties of the sale of DiverseyLever or future acquisitions and disposals and any changes in the tax laws and other legislation and regulation, in the jurisdictions in which we operate.

We do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in or incorporated in this news release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or in other factors which may affect any forward-looking statements.

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