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Ekaterra has taken over tea production business and not Unilever Nigeria – Unilever Ghana

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Unilever Ghana PLC has addressed reports indicating that its tea production line (Lipton) is being relocated to its Nigerian subsidiary due to unfavourable business conditions in Ghana.

The company clarified that the pause in tea production is part of a global group strategy to transfer operations to the Nigerian firm, Ekaterra, and not solely due to macro-economic challenges in Ghana.

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Managing Director Chris Wulff-Caesar of Unilever Ghana said “The tea operations leaving Ghana have nothing to do with “Dumsor” or activities in Ghana. It is a global strategy decision. The new company, Ekaterra, has taken over that business and not Unilever Nigeria. The decision started in 2021, it took time for it to take effect.”

Amid concerns about multinational companies leaving Ghana over economic and profitability issues, Unilever Ghana, a longstanding fast-moving consumer goods company, had also come under scrutiny following the suspension of its Lipton tea production line.

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Mr Chris Wulff-Caesar has explained that this decision is a part of a broader global strategic initiative aimed at optimizing operations and leveraging the strengths of its subsidiaries.

“Certain decisions are taken at the global level, which sometimes impact us. Sometime around 2019, we had to let go of our oils and spread business to another company upfield who are just next door to us. And this is all part of a global strategy to focus on certain core categories within the organization.

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“The tea story is very similar, this is not a Unilever Ghana decision, let me be very clear. This is a global strategy decision to offload its tea operations to allow it to operate in a way that is more efficient and not as part of the current set-up of the way we operate as Unilever globally.

During a familiarization tour by Citi Business News at Unilever Ghana’s factory in Tema, it was observed that production of several of the company’s popular brands was in full swing. Management emphasized the importance of streamlining their global supply chain to enhance efficiency across all business units, underscoring the company’s operational stability.

“Ghana remains a place for investment, there’s still investment going on in our factory. Unilever still sees Ghana as a good investment destination. Unilever is here to stay in Ghana”, the MD added.

According to Unilever Ghana PLC’s financial statement for the year ending 2023, the company demonstrated robust performance, achieving an impressive 838 percent increase in profit compared to the previous year. The company has continued to show growth, generating over GHS 240 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2024, driven by material cost savings.

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