Unilever increases profit, puts teas up for sale

Bags of Lipton tea. Unilever now wants to divest the brand.
Photo: Shutterstock.com

Unilever has exceeded expectations last semester: profit grew even during the height of the Covid-19 crisis. Still, the company decided to divest (most of) its tea segment.


Increased net profits

Despite the global pandemic, Unilever's half-year turnover only dropped 1.6 % to 25.7 billion euros, and the organic turnover drop was just 0.1 %. Underlying operational profit even went up 3.8 % to 5.1 billion euros - significantly higher than the 4.7 billion analysts were expecting. Net profits even rose 10 % to 3.5 billion euros, growth that came courtesy of a strong growth of at-home consumption of food, ice cream and tea.


Despite that praise, Unilever announced it wanted to sell most of its tea division, including the Lipton brand. Most of its tea sales are in black tea, which is apparently becoming less popular in North-America and Europe, Dutch national broadcaster NOS reports.


While Unilever wants to hold on to its tea branches in India and Indonesia, most of its other tea activities will be divested. Only the collaboration with PepsiCo, regarding Lipton iced teas, will escape the axe. The news is not coming as a big surprise, as the company had announced it was looking into the possibility of divestment of the tea branch last January.