Hindustan Unilever to exit specialized marine products business

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has decided to exit its specialized marine exports business and sell its Chorward-based unit to Gadre Marine Exports, a leading exporter of marine products headquartered in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.

The company refused to disclose the deal size but said that it has obtained all the necessary approvals to transfer the business to Gadre Marine. “HUL has entered into an agreement to sell marine exports business along with this unit as a going concern to Gadre Marine Exports Pvt Ltd, a leading and specialized marine exporting company,” an HUL spokesman said in an e-mailed response to a query by TOI. Gadre Marine promoter Deepak Gadre refused to comment on the deal citing confidentiality clauses.HUL has a marine exports factory in Chorwad village of Junagadh district. The unit was established in 1995 and employs 600 people directly and indirectly. According to sources, the Chorwad unit is into value-added products from surmi, crabs, fish fillet, shrimps, squid to octopus. The company has developed markets for surmi in Taiwan and Australia and for crabsticks in the US, Greece and Bulgaria.

HUL also cited rising competition in the marine exports industry as one of the reasons to exit this business. “As the marine exports industry is an extremely competitive and specialized business, HUL has decided to sell this to Gadre Marine.

As HUL had defocused from the marine exports business, the sale will ensure long-term viability of the factory and is therefore in the long-term interests of all stakeholders, including employees,” the spokesman added.

However, several employees at Chorwad unit have gone on a strike following the company’s decision to sell off the unit. HUL termed the strike “illegal” and “unfortunate” and claimed that many are returning to work. The workers’ union president Vimal Chudasama alleged that they have got no assurance about their pending dues or re-employment with the new owner.

The HUL spokesman said, “The sale is being done in a manner as to ensure that the employment service conditions of all employees including workmen are protected.”


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