Restructuring contributes to €9.8m loss at Unilever

RESTRUCTURING costs at the Irish arm of consumer food giant Unilever last year contributed to the company recording a €9.8 million loss, figures show.

Accounts just filed with the Companies Office by Unilever Ireland (Holdings) Ltd, show the company recorded the loss after revenues decreased marginally from €248.4m to €247.7m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

The company’s costs were increased by an exceptional cost of €7.1m relating to restructuring that included severance payments.

The company recorded the pre-tax loss of €9.8m that followed a pre-tax loss of €10.6m in 2009.

According to the directors’ report: “Unilever saw decline in underlying turnover for the third consecutive year. In order to ensure the future success of the business, we announced a significant restructure of our Irish operations to ensure that customers and consumers receive quality products at the most affordable prices.”

The report adds: “The restructuring programme also included a significant number of redundancies across all functions within our business as well as structural changes to our route to market in our ice cream business. As a result of these changes, we delivered significant improved profitability in 2010.”

Unilever’s brands include HB ice-cream, &Hellman’s, Bovril, Flora, Lyons Tea, Knorr, Lynx, Dove, Persil, Comfort and Domestos.

The report goes on: “The local economic outlook remains challenging but the continued ability of the company to adapt to these conditions remains firmly positive with both the customer and consumer at the centre of this drive.”

The company’s cost of sales last year increased from €142.8m to €144.7m with net operating expenses decreasing from €121.3m to €108.4m.

The accounts also confirm the company paid a €171m dividend to its most immediate parent, Unilever Overseas Holding , last year and that the company received dividends of €51.6m from Lyons Irish Enterprises; €33.6m from Unilever Ireland and €9.9m from Lyons Irish Holdings.

Shareholder funds at the end of 2010 was €184.1m.

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