Unilever hikes stake in HUL to 67% for $3.2B

Unilever Plc, the world’s second largest consumer goods company, has increased stake in its Indian arm Hindustan Unilever (HUL) from 52.48 per cent to 67.28 per cent, the company announced in a statement. The stake was purchased through a voluntary offer by Unilever where it sought to increase its holding to up to 75 per cent in an offer worth $5.4 billion, which closed on Thursday.

The shareholders tendered 319.7 million shares during the tender period for the open offer, which commenced on June 21, 2013, and closed on July 4, 2013. The open offer was at Rs 600 a share and cost Unilever around Rs 19,180 crore ($3.2 billion).

Commenting on the outcome, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “We are pleased to have received such a good response to our voluntary open offer and as a result, we will significantly increase our stake in Hindustan Unilever, an excellent Indian business with a proud heritage and the potential for attractive long-term growth.”

HUL, the largest FMCG company in India, has brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, Pond’s, Vaseline, Lakmé, Dove, Clinic Plus, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup, Axe, Brooke Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality Wall’s and Pureit, among others.

The open offer was first announced on April 30, 2013, and was managed by HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Pvt Ltd.

The company came up with a positive financial performance for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, with 6 per cent volume growth, which was higher than the growth clocked in unit sales in the third quarter. The net profit growth also beat street estimates.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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