Hindustan Lever, the country's largest consumer goods maker, has decided to put its starch and leather businesses on the block. While the revenues from the starch business are around Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million), the revenues form the leather business stand at around Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million).
The leather business was transferred to a subsidiary in April 2002 while the starch business is owned by HLL itself.
S P Mustafa, group treasurer & head - M&A & investor relations at HLL told Business Standard, "In line with our policy of exiting non-core areas, we have been on the lookout for buyers for our leather and starch businesses."
The leather business has manufacturing units at Mettupalayam, Pondicherry Chennai and it makes shoe uppers. The business placed pressures in 2002 due to the loss of key European customers who have closed down shoe factories. Further, they are now sourcing from, China. Last year HLL disposed off its vanaspati brand - Dalda.
The company has chalked out a strategy of focusing on power brands over the last few years and has been steadily exiting non-core areas. It has also quit the seeds and animal feeds businesses.
Mustafa also said that the company would be open to acquisitions. "We are open to acquisitions in the foods and allied categories of the home and personal care business. However, at the moment nothing has been finalised," he added.Further, Hindustan Lever is also open to merging some subsidiaries with itself he added. Meanwhile the company's exports to its parent Unilever have also increased 14 per cent in the year ended December 31, 2003.