Unilever bullish on Philippine growth prospects

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Unilever bullish on Philippine growth prospects
Unilever Philippines chairman and CEO Freddy Ong said in a media briefing that the company’s growth has always been above the GDP expansion.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Unilever Philippines is optimistic of sustaining robust growth this year as it aims to grow its business faster than the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Unilever Philippines chairman and CEO Freddy Ong said in a media briefing that the company’s growth has always been above the GDP expansion.

“Our growth has always been above GDP. That’s what I can commit to you,” Ong said when asked of the company’s revenue growth projections for the year.

“Consistent to what our global CEO said that we have to deliver high quality growth, definitely Unilever Philippines will be counted on globally as one of the countries that will deliver high growth,” Ong added.

The company is focusing on its core brands to drive its growth this year.

“What we intend to do is to invest heavily in our core brands. That’s the first thing that we plan to do,” Ong said.

In addition, Ong said they are also targeting to make their products the best in each category they are in as well as exert efforts in production innovation.

“Definitely there will be product innovations but I’m not in a position to divulge it right now. But as I’ve said, the guiding principle will always to be ahead of the market [and] understand what the new trends are,” Ong said.

The growth drivers mentioned by Ong are aligned with the global company’s growth action plan launched in October, which lists three priorities particularly delivering higher-quality growth, stepping up productivity and simplicity, as well as adopting a strong performance focus.

In line with this, the company would navigate business growth by focusing on its core brands, driving brand superiority, as well as scaling innovations to drive category growth and premiumization.

“We recognize the opportunity for our business to grow competitively. In the Philippines, we will drive category growth, grow volumes and market share through ruthless focus on our strategy, powered by data and digital transformation,” Ong said.

He also emphasized that growing the business through market development allows the company to reinvest in its portfolio to improve, innovate, or bring in products that remain relevant for every Filipino.

“We remain confident about our prospects for growth in the Philippines and we intend to grow fast and grow responsibly,” Ong added.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of beauty and wellbeing, personal care, home care, nutrition and ice cream products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day.

The Philippines continues to be among the top 10 markets for the company globally.

Emerging markets contribute to 58 percent of Unilever’s turnover globally, noting that Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, is a very important region for the company and is among its growth drivers.

Founded as the Philippine Refining Company in 1927, it is one of the few fast moving consumer goods that continues to manufacture over 90 percent of its products locally.

Unilever said its investments in the expansion of its nutrition factory in 2016 as well as a newly inaugurated beauty and wellbeing and personal care factory in 2023, both located in Cavite, contributed significantly to increased production capacity to support the growing demand in the Philippines and other export markets.

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