Unilever is a Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London, United Kingdom. Its products include food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. It is the world's largest consumer goods company measured by 2012 revenue, and is also the world's largest producer of food spreads, such as margarine. It is Europe’s seventh most valuable company. Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in around 190 countries.
Unilever owns over 400 brands, but focuses on thirteen brands with sales of over one billion euros: Axe/Lynx, Dove, Omo, Becel/Flora, Heartbrand ice creams, Hellmann's, Knorr, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Rama, Rexona, Sunsilk and Surf. It is a dual-listed company consisting of Unilever N.V., based in Rotterdam, and Unilever plc, based in London. The two companies operate as a single business, with a common board of directors. Unilever is organised into four main divisions – Foods, Refreshment (beverages and ice cream), Home Care, and Personal Care. It has research and development facilities in the United Kingdom (two), the Netherlands, China, India and the United States.
Unilever was founded in 1930 by the merger of the Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie and the British soapmaker Lever Brothers. During the second half of the 20th century the company increasingly diversified from being a maker of products made of oils and fats, and expanded its operations worldwide. It has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including Lipton (1971), Brooke Bond (1984), Chesebrough-Ponds (1987), Best Foods (2000), Ben & Jerry's (2000), Alberto-Culver (2010), and Dollar Shave Club (2016). Unilever divested its speciality chemicals businesses to ICI in 1997. In 2015, under leadership of Paul Polman, the company gradually shifted its focus towards health and beauty brands and away from food brands showing slow growth.