Pure Beauty

Unilever invests in €20 million Ukraine factory amid Russian operations backlash

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 21-Mar-2023

Construction on the factory is slated to start this year, with the manufacturing space aiming to create more than 100 jobs

Unilever is set to create a new €20m production facility in the Kyiv region of Ukraine.

The consumer goods goliath said the new Ukrainian factory supports its long-term commitment to the country, in addition to celebrating its 30th year of operating there.

Construction is slated to start this year, with the manufacturing space aiming to create more than 100 jobs in the region.

The new hub will also predominantly supply the local Ukrainian market but could also potentially export goods to European markets.

“This investment shows our long-term commitment to the country and its people, including our employees, customers and partners,” said Vasyl Bovdilov, General Manager, Unilever Ukraine.

“It is also a fitting way to mark the 30th anniversary of our business in Ukraine, which we will celebrate later this year.

“Our new manufacturing facility will create new jobs, increase our production capacity, and above all serve the needs of Ukrainian consumers with high quality, sustainable products.”

Unilever has faced backlash in recent months over its decision to continue doing business in Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine.

This came to a head in February 2023 following the release of Unilever’s Q4 and full-year 2022 results.

The company announced a 9% underlying sales increase for full-year 2022, but analysts were quick to spot that Unilever had an asset position of €900m in Russia.

Business operations in the country had contributed to 1.4% of turnover and 2% of the group’s net profit.

But in response Unilever doubled down in defence of its decision to continue doing business in Russia.

“We understand why there are calls for Unilever to leave Russia,” FMCG giant said in a statement at the time.

“We also want to be clear that we are not trying to protect or manage our business in Russia.

“However, for companies like Unilever, which have a significant physical presence in the country, exiting is not straightforward.”

Despite the controversy, Unilever stressed that its focus has been on ensuring the security and wellbeing of Ukrainian employees and their families.

It has also donated more than €15m of support and essential Unilever products to the humanitarian relief effort. 

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