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Lipton Tea Production Move to Nigeria Part of Unilever’s Global Strategy – Unilever Ghana MD

After The Accra Times broke the news on Societe Generale's exit from the Ghanaian market, conversations about other multinationals leaving Ghana became topical. Unilever Ghana, one of the longest-operating fast-moving consumer goods companies, was also cited following the suspension of its tea production line, Lipton

Unilever Ghana PLC has addressed reports suggesting that the relocation of its Lipton tea production line to its subsidiary in Nigeria was due to unfavourable business conditions in Ghana.

According to the company, the decision to pause tea production is part of a global strategy at the group level to transition operations to Eketerra in Nigeria, and not as a result of macro-economic issues.

After The Accra Times broke the news on Societe Generale’s exit from the Ghanaian market, conversations about other multinationals leaving Ghana became topical. Unilever Ghana, one of the longest-operating fast-moving consumer goods companies, was also cited following the suspension of its tea production line, Lipton.

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Unilever Ghana PLC’s 2023 financial statement reveals an improved performance, marked by an 838 per cent profit growth compared to the previous year, demonstrating the company’s remarkable success in Ghana.

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However, Chris Wulff-Caesar,  Managing Director (MD) of Unilever Ghana says the decision was a deliberate strategic move to optimize global operations and capitalize the strengths of its subsidiaries.

“Certain decisions are taken at the global level, which sometimes impact us. Sometime around 2019, we had to let go of our oils and spread business to another company upfield who are just next door to us. And this is all part of a global strategy to focus on certain core categories within the organization.

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“The tea story is very similar, this is not a Unilever Ghana decision, let me be very clear. This is a global strategy decision to offload its tea operations to allow it to operate in a way that is more efficient and not as part of the current set-up of the way we operate as Unilever globally,” Mr. Wulff-Caesar said

During a visit to Unilever Ghana’s Tema factory as part of a familiarization tour, it was observed that production of several popular brands was in full swing.

The MD stressed the need to rationalize its global supply chain to enhance efficiency across all business units, underscoring the company’s focus on operational stability and long-term success.

“The tea operations leaving Ghana have nothing to do with “Dumsor” or activities in Ghana. It is a global strategy decision. The new company Eketerra has taken over that business and not Unilever Nigeria. The decision started in 2021, it took time for it to take effect,” he said.

According to him, Ghana continues to be an attractive investment hub, with ongoing investments in their factory.

“Ghana remains a place for investment, there’s still investment going on in our factory. Unilever still sees Ghana as a good investment destination. Unilever is here to stay in Ghana”, he added.

In the first quarter of 2024, it achieved revenue growth, exceeding GHS 240 million, driven primarily by material cost savings, showcasing the company’s financial growth potential.

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