CASE STUDY: UNILEVER
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products, with more than 400 brands from Persil to PG Tips and Tresemme to Magnum.
The company was formed from an amalgamation of companies in 1930. Lever Brothers was one of those companies and was established in the UK, in Warrington in 1851. Liverpool City Region’s Port Sunlight was built by Lever Brothers to accommodate workers in its soap factory (now part of Unilever); work commenced in 1888.
Today the site is a hub for Unilever globally with 2,500 employees in roles ranging from global R&D to enterprise technology to manufacturing laundry, household and personal care products.
In 2018, Unilever opened both a new £81 million-pound Materials Innovation Factory and a new £24 million Advanced Manufacturing Centre facility in Liverpool.
The Materials Innovation Factory brings together materials chemistry expertise with the latest computational and robotic equipment, to accelerate research and reduce the time it takes to develop new products which have the potential to address a range of societal challenges.
The 6,500 sq m Advanced Manufacturing centre houses a state-of-the-art pilot plant enabling scientists and engineers to test new ideas during product development on a factory scale. The new Centre is the latest in a line of recent investments at Port Sunlight, totalling over £200 million. Cameron Jones, Unilever Port Sunlight site leader, said:
“In building the Advanced Manufacturing Centre and Materials Innovation Factory we are renewing our commitment to R&D in the UK and the Liverpool City Region.
“These new centres complement our existing facilities, allowing us to create new innovative products, further improve the quality of manufacturing and in addition, accelerate our ability to roll out products across the world.”
Unilever plans to continue to invest heavily in product development and research, from it’s Liverpool City Region base.
The company’s diverse portfolio of products and strong hold in global markets have ensured that the company’s stock has risen by an impressive 75 per cent, over the past five years, despite
economic uncertainty in the UK and around the world during the same period, making Unilever one of the most robust income stocks on the FTSE 100.