Tag Archives | Unilever

Indian auto sales decline as the middle class myth disappears

India’s stock market has hit new records this week, as investors anticipate radical policy changes after election results are announced today.  And the chart above highlights a key area behind the need for change, namely the problems of the important auto market: Indian auto sales dipped in April to just 183k (red square) This is […]

Continue Reading
Spain trucks Jan13.png

World Bank warns “real-side recovery is weak”

The risk of global recession continues to rise, with the World Bank last week warning that “the real-side recovery is weak and business sector confidence is low“. Spain, the world’s 12th largest economy, provides a good example of how the problems are spreading. Financial markets have temporarily decided that it has ‘turned the corner’, due […]

Continue Reading
Dreams.png

If you build it, they may not come

The story of the 1989 US movie Field of Dreams summed up the happy days of the economic supercycle that was then getting underway. Starring A-list players such as Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster, its theme that “if you build it, they will come” came to define the era. In the world of manufacturing, companies […]

Continue Reading
Nescafe stick.png

Affordability a key trend for Western markets

The Red Queen in the classic book, Alice in Wonderland, would have recognised today’s financial markets when she boasted “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Fellow blogger Doris de Guzman noted one great example last week, when questioning whether Facebook could really be worth the combined value of Dow, […]

Continue Reading
ethane v N May12.png

V is for Volatility

Unilever CEO Paul Polman suggests we are living in a VUCA world, as we discuss in chapter 11 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal. Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity make planning for the future more difficult than for a generation. This week, the blog will run a special series that examines how this VUCA […]

Continue Reading
Tesco China.png

China fines Unilever for soap price increases

There seems little doubt that China is increasingly worried by rising inflation. The latest sign is Unilever, the giant consumer products company, being fined $300k (RMB 2 million), for discussing plans to increase prices due to higher raw material costs. Those who can remember the US WIN (Whip Inflation Now) programme, or the UK’s Prices […]

Continue Reading
Michael Porter.png

Shared Value can unleash next wave of global growth

GE’s then CEO, Jack Welch, launched the Shareholder Value concept in 1981. It has since led many investors to adopt a purely short-term focus on financial metrics, rather than longer-term opportunities. The only problem is that, as Welch admitted 2 years ago, it was “a dumb idea“. Now, one of the world’s great management thinkers, […]

Continue Reading
Unilever.png

Unilever focuses on long-term investors

Its now 18 months since Jack Welch publicly abandoned his views on the importance of shareholder value, and said it was “a dumb idea for executives to focus so heavily on quarterly profits and share price gains“. This was very significant, as Welch was generally credited with popularising the idea in a 1981 speech, when […]

Continue Reading
$1 items.png

US consumers turn to Dollar stores

Major changes are taking place in US retailing. They echo the changing focus of emerging Asian markets. Taken together, these must have important implications for chemical demand. US retail markets have been evolving over the past 3 years, as the Crisis began to hit, and the baby-boomers moved beyond the peak 25 – 54 age […]

Continue Reading
Forest.png

Brainstorming on biomass

The blog has come across a useful new tool for global brainstorming, run out of San Francisco by DiscoveryCast. They have recently organised a major event with Paris-based SpecialChem to review the current state of play in bio-based initiatives. This involved a group of 550 experts from 400 companies (including 3M, Dow, Michelin, DuPont, Arkema, […]

Continue Reading