By Eskedar Kifle
Unilever a multi-national consumer goods company and IKEA the world’s largest furniture retailer are going to set up a factory in Ethiopia, Capital learned from sources.
Unilever that is headquartered in London, England is said to be the world’s second largest consumer goods company measured by revenue with its products available in 190 countries worldwide.
According to a spokesperson Capital interviewed, Unilever Manufacturing PLC was incorporated in Ethiopia as of this January.
“ This is the starting point in our journey to invest in the manufacturing of consumer goods and establish a genuinely inclusive and sustainable business model by supporting the development of Ethiopian trading and distribution networks while building up local suppliers and training Ethiopian staff to world class standards,” the spokesperson told Capital.
IKEA is also said to already secure a plot for a production line of its wide range of furniture products. However Capital’s attempt to get a confirmation from IKEA office failed.
Unilever is organized into four main divisions; Food, Refreshment (beverages and ice cream), Home Care, and Personal Care. It owns over 400 brands, but focuses on 14 brands with sales of over 1 billion Euros. Among the top 14 brands are Dove, Omo, Knorr, Lipton and Lux.
The consumer goods giant has been around a long time. Unilever reportedly makes more than 3 billion euros a year in Africa and it is working on doubling that.
“Using our brands to improve the lives of ordinary Ethiopians and contribute to a bright future for the country will be at the centre of our business model,” the spokesperson also said.
Currently Unilever operates factories throughout Africa including Kenya.
Unilever was founded in 1929 by the merger of the British soap maker Lever Brothers (founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever) and the Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie. The company had a turnover of 49.8 billion Euros according it its financial report for 2013.
IKEA is a Swedish company registered in the Netherlands that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture (such as beds, chairs and desks), appliances and home accessories. As of January 2008, the company became the world’s largest furniture retailer. Founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17-year-old, Ingvar Kamprad, the company’s name is an acronym that consists of the initials of, Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, south Sweden). The company is known for its modern architectural designs for various types of appliances and furniture, and its interior design work is often associated with an eco-friendly simplicity. In addition, the firm is known for its attention to cost control, operational details, and continuous product development, corporate attributes that allowed IKEA to lower its prices by an average of two to three percent over the decade to 2010 during a period of global expansion.
As of January 2014, IKEA owns and operates 345 stores in 42 countries. In 2013 IKEA announced a total sales turnover of 29.2 billion Euros.