Unilever took the opportunity to announce the investment of €50 million ($€66m) in its first Asian aerosol manufacturing facility in Khamgaon, Maharashtra, whilst British Prime Minister David Cameron was visiting its Hindustan business in Mumbai.
Objective is to 'better cater to Asian consumers'
According to chief supply chain officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi; “This investment in India is part of our broader expansion plans to help us achieve our ambition of doubling our business, whilst halving our environmental impact.”
"The Khamgaon plant is one of the thirty new factories being built by 2015 and we will utilize the latest technology to deliver the increased quality products our consumers demand whilst meeting the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commitments," he adds.
Investment in Khamgaon will be phased over three years and production capacity will gradually be scaled up to generate direct employment for over 150 people and indirect employment for about 200 people.
The plant will service demand from India and across South East Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam and will utilise the latest technologies to maximise energy efficiency and reduce waste water to zero. "This is in line with Unilever’s goal of reducing water use in manufacturing."
As Sigismondi mentioned, this latest venture adds to other recent investments such as the €70 million ($93m) the company has put into building new homecare liquids and distribution facilities in Thailand and a €75 million ($100m) investment in a new home care factory along with the expansion of existing manufacturing plants in South Africa, announced at the end of January.
On discovering Unilever’s latest venture, the Prime Minister said: "I’m delighted to hear they’re expanding further, investing in a new manufacturing plant to service the emerging Indian and South Asian markets is a shining example of how a business with British roots can succeed in India and beyond.”
Currently, Unilever's head office is based in Mumbai and the company has more than 40 manufacturing plants across India, directly employing more than 16,000 people.