LONDON, June 14 Consumer goods giant Unilever
is to close four sites in Britain with the
loss of 800 jobs, as it switches production to its largest
British factory at Port Sunlight, northwest England, backed by a
40 million pounds ($62 million) investment.
The move involves sites acquired with Unilever's purchase of
haircare group Alberto Culver and Sara Lee's personal care
business over the past 18 months, along with a Welsh IT centre,
as it moves jobs to Port Sunlight and India.
The group, which produces Persil detergent and PG Tips tea
in Britain, said on Thursday that the closures could result in
the loss of 500 jobs from its 7,500-strong UK workforce, while
there could also be a loss of about 300 associated contractor
and third-party jobs.
Unilever is proposing to close its haircare plant in Swansea
and a small distribution site at Bridgend, South Wales, after it
bought U.S. group Alberto Culver in 2011. The former Sara Lee
plant in Slough, west of London, which makes Radox and other
bath and shower products, will also close.
Production will move to Unilever's historic home of Port
Sunlight, where Lord Lever first started producing soaps and
detergents more than 100 years ago. The moves are expected to
create about 150 new jobs at Port Sunlight.
The closure of the two manufacturing sites at Swansea and
Slough will reduce the number of the group's UK plants to nine
and lead to cost savings from more efficient production from
It is also closing its Ewloe IT site, close to Port Sunlight
but just across the border in North Wales, with jobs
transferring to Port Sunlight and to Bangalore in India.
Unilever said the review of its proposals is expected to be
concluded by late 2012 and the moves completed by the end of
Britain's biggest trade union, Unite, said that it was
assessing the impact of Unilever's move and will be meeting
senior management this month to discuss the job cuts and future
increased employment at Port Sunlight.