Chronology of Key Events

1888

Sunlight soap introduced in India.

1895

Lifebuoy soap launched; Lever Brothers appoints agents in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karachi.

1902

Pears soap introduced in India.

1903

Brooke Bond Red Label tea launched.

1905

Lux flakes introduced.

1913

Vim scouring powder introduced.

1914

Vinolia soap launched in India.

1918

Vanaspati introduced by Dutch margarine manufacturers like Van den Berghs, Jurgens, Verschure Creameries, and Hartogs.

1922

Rinso soap powder introduced.

1924

Gibbs dental preparations launched.

1925

Lever Brothers gets full control of North West Soap Company.

1926

Hartogs registers Dalda Trademark.

1930

Unilever is formed on January 1 through merger of Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie.

1931

Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company registered on November 27; Sewri factory site bought.

1932

Vanaspati manufacture starts at Sewri.

1933

Application made for setting up soap factory next to the Vanaspati factory at Sewri; Lever Brothers India Limited incorporated on October 17.

1934

Soap manufacture begins at Sewri factory in October; North West Soap Company's Garden Reach Factory, Kolkata rented and expanded to produce Lever brands.

1935

United Traders incorporated on May 11 to market Personal Products.

1937

Mr. Prakash Tandon, one of the first Indian covenanted managers, joins HVM.

1939

Garden Reach Factory purchased outright; concentration on building up Dalda Vanaspati as a brand.

1941

Agencies in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Karachi taken over; company acquires own sales force.

1942

Unilever takes firm decision to "train Indians to take over junior and senior management positions instead of Europeans".

1943

Personal Products manufacture begins in India at Garden Reach Factory.

1944

Reorganisation of the three companies with common management but separate marketing operations.

1947

Pond's Cold Cream launched.

1951

Mr. Prakash Tandon becomes first Indian Director. Shamnagar, Tiruchy, and Ghaziabad Vanaspati factories bought.

1955

65% of managers are Indians.

1956

Three companies merge to form Hindustan Unilever Limited, with 10% Indian equity participation.

1957

Unilever Special Committee approves research activity by Hindustan Unilever.

1958

Research Unit starts functioning at Mumbai Factory.

1959

Surf launched.

1961

Mr. Prakash Tandon takes over as the first Indian Chairman; 191 of the 205 managers are Indians.

1962

Formal Exports Department starts.

1963

Head Office building at Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai, opened.

1964

Etah dairy set up, Anik ghee launched; Animal feeds plant at Ghaziabad; Sunsilk shampoo launched.

1965

Signal toothpaste launched; Indian shareholding increases to 14%.

1966

Lever'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.

1967

Hindustan Unilever Research Centre, opens in Mumbai.

1968

Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha takes over as Chairman from Mr. Prakash Tandon; Fine Chemicals Unit commissioned at Andheri; informal price control on soap begins.

1969

Rin bar launched; Fine Chemicals Unit starts production; Bru coffee launched

1971

Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha presents plan for diversification into chemicals to Unilever Special Committee - plan approved; Clinic shampoo launched.

1973

Mr. T. Thomas takes over as Chairman from Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha.

1974

Pilot plant for industrial chemicals at Taloja; informal price control on soaps withdrawn; Liril marketed.

1975

Ten-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.

1976

Construction work of Haldia chemicals complex begins; Taloja chemicals unit begins functioning.

1977

Jammu synthetic Detergents plant inaugurated; Indian shareholding increases to 18.57%.

1978

Indian shareholding increases to 34%; Fair & Lovely skin cream launched.

1979

Sodium Tripolyphospate plant at Haldia commissioned.

1980

Dr. A. S. Ganguly takes over as Chairman from Mr. T. Thomas; Unilever shareholding in the company comes down to 51%.

1982

Government allows 51% Unilever shareholding.

1984

Foods, Animal Feeds businesses transferred to Lipton.

1986

Agri-products unit at Hyderabad starts functioning - first range of hybrid seeds comes out; Khamgaon Soaps unit and Yavatmal Personal Products unit start production.

1988

Launch of Lipton Taaza tea.

1990

Mr. S. M. Datta takes over as Chairman from Dr. A. S. Ganguly.

1991

Surf Ultra detergent launched.

1992

HUL recognised by Government of India as Star Trading House in Exports.

1993

The erstwhile Brooke Bond India acquires the Kissan brand from the United Breweries Group, giving HUL an entry into the foods business.

1994

HUL'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.

1996

HUL 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.

1996

Mr. 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.

1997

Unilever sets up International Research Laboratory in Bangalore; new Regional Innovation Centres also come up.

1998

Group 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.

2000

Mr. 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

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