PARIS — Unilever P.L.C. has set a timeline for entering into negotiations with potential buyers of its Baking, Cooking and Spreads business unit this fall and having a deal agreed upon by the end of the year, said Graeme David Pitkethly, chief financial officer, during a presentation June 15 at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference. The company announced this past April that it would be divesting the business unit.
|Graeme David Pitkethly, c.f.o. of Unilever|
“It really is the right time now to exit from spreads,” Mr. Pitkethly said. “Having increased the cash profit that the business generated by €80 million last year, we’re in the process of setting the deal parameters … (and) producing the full set of carved-out financial data to enable a really solid and professional sales process.”Unilever’s spreads business includes such brands as Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. In 2015, the company created the separate Baking, Cooking and Spreads unit. At the time, the goal was to give management the opportunity to focus on the issues facing the business and the overall category. Despite improved performance through cost reduction efforts, the company said in April it was time to sell or demerge the business unit.