The Anglo-Dutch giant’s turnover in MENA was $1.9 billion last year and it currently has nine manufacturing facilities in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, producing personal care products, as well as for home care and tea.
At the start of the month during a visit to Dubai, Unilever CEO Paul Polman announced the company is all set to boost its business in the MENA region as emerging markets are now in focus.
“The growth from the US and Europe may be in the range of 1-2%, where as we see almost 80-85% coming from emerging markets. We are open to hiring more workforce in this region if required and need be, we currently employ 4,600 workers,” he said.
Polman also added that the Dove skin care maker are looking to build a factory in the country for personal care and are open to mergers and acquisitions opportunities in the region if they help in strengthening its portfolio.
This has been confirmed by the company’s regional head, Sanjiv Kakkar, who states “We are setting up a factory in Dubai which will expand our personal care presence across the region.”
“We’ve just done the ground breaking work and it should take another 24 months before products come onto the ground. In the new facility, we will make full our personal care products including shampoos, shower gels and all that is integral to our core personal care portfolio,” adds the Executive Vice President of Unilever for MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Unilever already boasts a leading position in many categories including deodorants, face and body in the region and will hoping to build on this with this move.
According to market researcher Euromonitor, UAE residents last year increased their spending on personal care products by 9% to Dh5.3 billion and it’ll jump by another half a billion dollars to Dh7.34bn in five years with spending in many categories.
Emerging markets account for the bulk of Unilever’s growth, with Polman saying that nearly 60% of Unilever’s business is in the emerging markets.
He said that in “the next 15-20 years, 10-15% of the company’s growth can come from this region.”