Chronology of Key Events

 

YEARMILESTONES
1888
Sunlight soap introduced in India.
1895Lifebuoy soap launched; Lever Brothers appoints agents in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karachi.
1902Pears soap introduced in India.
1903Brooke Bond Red Label tea launched.
1905Lux flakes introduced.
1913Vim scouring powder introduced.
1914Vinolia soap launched in India.
1918Vanaspati introduced by Dutch margarine manufacturers like Van den Berghs, Jurgens, Verschure Creameries, and Hartogs.
1922Rinso soap powder introduced.
1924Gibbs dental preparations launched.
1925Lever Brothers gets full control of North West Soap Company.
1926Hartogs registers Dalda Trademark.
1930Unilever is formed on January 1 through merger of Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie.
1931Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company registered on November 27; Sewri factory site bought.
1932Vanaspati manufacture starts at Sewri.
1933Application made for setting up soap factory next to the Vanaspati factory at Sewri; Lever Brothers India Limited incorporated on October 17.
1934Soap manufacture begins at Sewri factory in October; North West Soap Company's Garden Reach Factory, Kolkata rented and expanded to produce Lever brands.
1935United Traders incorporated on May 11 to market Personal Products.
1937Mr. Prakash Tandon, one of the first Indian covenanted managers, joins HVM.
1939Garden Reach Factory purchased outright; concentration on building up Dalda Vanaspati as a brand.
1941Agencies in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Karachi taken over; company acquires own sales force.
1942Unilever takes firm decision to "train Indians to take over junior and senior management positions instead of Europeans".
1943Personal Products manufacture begins in India at Garden Reach Factory.
1944Reorganisation of the three companies with common management but separate marketing operations.
1947Pond's Cold Cream launched.
1951Mr. Prakash Tandon becomes first Indian Director. Shamnagar, Tiruchy, and Ghaziabad Vanaspati factories bought.
195565% of managers are Indians.
1956Three companies merge to form Hindustan Unilever Limited, with 10% Indian equity participation.
1957Unilever Special Committee approves research activity by Hindustan Unilever.
1958Research Unit starts functioning at Mumbai Factory.
1959Surf launched.
1961Mr. Prakash Tandon takes over as the first Indian Chairman; 191 of the 205 managers are Indians.
1962Formal Exports Department starts.
1963Head Office building at Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai, opened.
1964Etah dairy set up, Anik ghee launched; Animal feeds plant at Ghaziabad; Sunsilk shampoo launched.
1965Signal toothpaste launched; Indian shareholding increases to 14%.
1966Lever's baby food, more new foods introduced; Nickel catalyst production begins; Indian shareholding increases to 15%. Statutory price control on Vanaspati; Taj Mahal tea launched.
1967Hindustan Unilever Research Centre, opens in Mumbai.
1968Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha takes over as Chairman from Mr. Prakash Tandon; Fine Chemicals Unit commissioned at Andheri; informal price control on soap begins.
1969Rin bar launched; Fine Chemicals Unit starts production; Bru coffee launched
1971Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha presents plan for diversification into chemicals to Unilever Special Committee - plan approved; Clinic shampoo launched.
1973Mr. T. Thomas takes over as Chairman from Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha.
1974Pilot plant for industrial chemicals at Taloja; informal price control on soaps withdrawn; Liril marketed.
1975Ten-year modernisation plan for soaps and detergent plants; Jammu project work begins; statutory price control on Vanaspati and baby foods withdrawn; Close-up toothpaste launched.
1976Construction work of Haldia chemicals complex begins; Taloja chemicals unit begins functioning.
1977Jammu synthetic Detergents plant inaugurated; Indian shareholding increases to 18.57%.
1978Indian shareholding increases to 34%; Fair & Lovely skin cream launched.
1979Sodium Tripolyphospate plant at Haldia commissioned.
1980Dr. A. S. Ganguly takes over as Chairman from Mr. T. Thomas; Unilever shareholding in the company comes down to 51%.
1982Government allows 51% Unilever shareholding.
1984Foods, Animal Feeds businesses transferred to Lipton.
1986Agri-products unit at Hyderabad starts functioning - first range of hybrid seeds comes out; Khamgaon Soaps unit and Yavatmal Personal Products unit start production.
1988Launch of Lipton Taaza tea.
1990Mr. S. M. Datta takes over as Chairman from Dr. A. S. Ganguly.
1991Surf Ultra detergent launched.
1992HUL recognised by Government of India as Star Trading House in Exports.
1993The erstwhile Brooke Bond India acquires the Kissan brand from the United Breweries Group, giving HUL an entry into the foods business.
1994HUL's largest competitor, Tata Oil Mills Company (TOMCO), merges with the company, the biggest such in Indian industry till that time.
HUL forms Unilever Nepal Limited, HUL and US-based Kimberley-Clark Corporation form 50:50 joint venture - Kimberley-Clark Lever Ltd. - to market Huggies diapers and Kotex feminine care products. Factory set up at Pune in 1995; HUL acquires Kwality and Milkfood 100% brandnames and distribution assets. HUL introduces Wall's.
1995

HUL enters branded staples business with salt; HUL recognised as Super Star Trading House.

1996HUL and Indian cosmetics major, Lakme Ltd., form 50:50 joint venture - Lakme Lever Ltd.; HUL enters branded staples business with salt; HUL recognised as Super Star Trading House.
1996Mr. K. B. Dadiseth takes over as Chairman from Mr. S. M. Datta; Merger of Group company, Brooke Bond Lipton India Limited, with HUL, with effect from January 1; HUL introduces branded atta; Surf Excel launched.
1997Unilever sets up International Research Laboratory in Bangalore; new Regional Innovation Centres also come up.
1998Group company, Pond's India Ltd., merges with HUL with effect from January 1, 1998. HUL acquires Lakme brand, factories and Lakme Ltd.'s 50% equity in Lakme Lever Ltd.
2000Mr. M. S. Banga takes over as Chairman from Mr. K. B. Dadiseth, who joins the Unilever Board; HUL acquires 74% stake in Modern Food Industries Ltd., the first public sector company to be disinvested by the Government of India.

2002

HUL enters Ayurvedic health & beauty centre category with the Ayush range and Ayush Therapy Centres.

2003

Launch of Hindustan Lever Network; acquisition of the Amalgam Group

2004

Pureit test marketing in Chennai 

2006

Brookefields food operations moved to Mumbai

2007

Company name formally changed to Hindustan Unilever Limited after receiving the approval of share holders during the 74th AGM on 18 May 2007

Sales of Brooke Bond and Surf Excel each cross the Rs 1,000 crore mark

2008

HUL completes 75 years on 17th October 2008
Pureit national launch across India

2010

HUL moves to its new headquarters ‘Unilever House’ in Andheri, Mumbai. Pureit international launch. Unilever Sustainable Living Plan launched in India

2013

HUL completes 80 years on October 17 2013