Unilever promises a multi-billion-pound programme of shareholder rewards after a corporate rethink sparked by a takeover approach from Kraft Heinz. As Laura Frykberg reports, it's aiming to prove it can generate lucrative returns as an independent company.
It was once a household staple.. But with declining sales in its margarine business Unilever is selling it, and spreading itself elsewhere. Among the changes, a 5.3 billion dollar share buyback, and increased dividends by 12 percent this year. To satisfy investors, with higher returns. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, SENIOR ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "The management there is obviously keen to show that Unilever can be a source of growth by itself." That's because the Anglo-Dutch firm recently rejected a rival takeover. The offer by U.S. food giant, Kraft Heinz worth, $143 billion. Unilever called the episode a 'trigger moment' to assess its business model. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, SENIOR ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "Shedding the spreads business which has been slowing over the last twenty years, is a sign that it wants to streamline and focus on the areas that it's good at." And there's another way the company's considering doing just that. By dropping its dual structure in Britain and the Netherlands And combining them into one. Ahead of the announcement its London-listed shares hit a record high - they added another half percent after it.