Unilever and EAC partner in Myanmar

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever and EAC Myanmar joint venture

Related tags: Southeast asia

European consumer goods conglomerate, Unilever, and manufacturer and distributor, Europe & Asia Commercial Company (EAC), have launched a joint venture targeting Myanmar and the Asia- Pacific (APAC) markets.

Joint venture

On entering the joint venture, Unilever Myanmar and EAC will pull together the activities in their personal care and home care businesses to create the new Unilever EAC Myanmar Company.

Together, the recently-announced entity has annual sales of over €100 mn. Forming the partnership will combine the duo’s manufacturing, marketing and distribution capabilities to promote its home and personal care products in Myanmar.

The company hopes that utilising Unilever’s experience in R&D, supply chain and marketing, in combination with its local knowledge and manufacturing and distribution opportunities, will help to maximise its presence in Myanmar.

“We are excited about the synergies that both businesses can leverage,”​ said U Sein Myint, Chairman of EAC.

Emerging hot market

Market Intelligence company, Euromonitor International, has identified Myanmar as one of the big commercial markets of the future, attracting cosmetics and personal care brands to the largely unexplored nation.

Along with neighbouring Asian countries Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka, Myanmar displays significant potential due to its democratisation and global market targeting.

Collectively, these markets present a viable opportunity for brands looking to enter new areas within the Southeast Asia region.  Euromonitor International revealed that these economies’ GDP growth is expected to average 7.0 % per year between 2014 and 2030, representing a 0.9% increase compared to the total Asia region (6.1%).

A combination of factors, including larger populations, tourism, international trade agreements, resources, policies and urbanisation support bringing business to Myanmar and its neighbours.

Developing its existing presence in Myanmar, Unilever aims to grow its brand awareness and build upon its existing range of products available to cosmetics buyers.

Leader of the pack

Myanmar, Euromonitor International reveals, has achieved the greatest growth of the five markets as it has the highest number of internet users and mobile subscriptions. Despite this positive rise, as only 8.3% of the population are expected to be internet users by 2030, this figure still remains low compared to other markets.

In retail, 90% of sales come from traditional markets and so innovative brands could be successful through navigating the commercial landscape and gaining appeal and market share.

Local commitments

Through its range of personal care and home care products, Unilever announced in a recent press release that it plans to benefit Myanmar citizens by enhancing “the lives of consumers in Myanmar with better health, hygiene and nutrition”​, said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, Unilever South East Asia Australasia (SEAA).

Sustainability efforts are a core part of both companies’ efforts as they work with local communities and strive to reduce their detrimental impact on the environment.

EAC, for example, has recently created its Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation Programme that builds schools and water facilities, along with donating ambulances and products to help in natural disasters. Unilever has also developed initiatives on waste management and education through providing children with information on hygiene and oral care.

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