World Business: Unilever's Levers

Whenever an American housewife uses a detergent, an African woman buys a mammy cloth, or an Englishman pops into a fish-and-chips shop for a snack, the chances are good that the company that will profit is a corporate colossus called Unilever.

Unilever is the second-largest business firm outside the U.S. (after Royal Dutch/Shell) and the world's sixth largest company. Composed of two holding companies—a British half, Unilever Ltd., and a Dutch half, Unilever N. V. —Unilever controls 104 major companies, has 448 direct or indirect subsidiaries in 53 countries, and sells 1,200 different products. Some of its holdings: United Africa Group, Africa's...

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