Chronology of Key Events
Sunlight soap introduced in India.
Lifebuoy soap launched; Lever Brothers appoints agents in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karachi.
Pears soap introduced in India.
Brooke Bond Red Label tea launched.
Lux flakes introduced.
Vim scouring powder introduced.
Vinolia soap launched in India.
Vanaspati introduced by Dutch margarine manufacturers like Van den Berghs, Jurgens, Verschure Creameries, and Hartogs.
Rinso soap powder introduced.
Gibbs dental preparations launched.
Lever Brothers gets full control of North West Soap Company.
Hartogs registers Dalda Trademark.
Unilever is formed on January 1 through merger of Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie.
Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company registered on November 27; Sewri factory site bought.
Vanaspati manufacture starts at Sewri.
Application made for setting up soap factory next to the Vanaspati factory at Sewri; Lever Brothers India Limited incorporated on October 17.
Soap manufacture begins at Sewri factory in October; North West Soap Company's Garden Reach Factory, Kolkata rented and expanded to produce Lever brands.
United Traders incorporated on May 11 to market Personal Products.
Mr. Prakash Tandon, one of the first Indian covenanted managers, joins HVM.
Garden Reach Factory purchased outright; concentration on building up Dalda Vanaspati as a brand.
Agencies in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Karachi taken over; company acquires own sales force.
Unilever takes firm decision to "train Indians to take over junior and senior management positions instead of Europeans".
Personal Products manufacture begins in India at Garden Reach Factory.
Reorganisation of the three companies with common management but separate marketing operations.
Pond's Cold Cream launched.
Mr. Prakash Tandon becomes first Indian Director. Shamnagar, Tiruchy, and Ghaziabad Vanaspati factories bought.
65% of managers are Indians.
Three companies merge to form Hindustan Unilever Limited, with 10% Indian equity participation.
Unilever Special Committee approves research activity by Hindustan Unilever.
Research Unit starts functioning at Mumbai Factory.
Mr. Prakash Tandon takes over as the first Indian Chairman; 191 of the 205 managers are Indians.
Formal Exports Department starts.
Head Office building at Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai, opened.
Etah dairy set up, Anik ghee launched; Animal feeds plant at Ghaziabad; Sunsilk shampoo launched.
Signal toothpaste launched; Indian shareholding increases to 14%.
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.
Hindustan Unilever Research Centre, opens in Mumbai.
Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha takes over as Chairman from Mr. Prakash Tandon; Fine Chemicals Unit commissioned at Andheri; informal price control on soap begins.
Rin bar launched; Fine Chemicals Unit starts production; Bru coffee launched.
Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha presents plan for diversification into chemicals to Unilever Special Committee - plan approved; Clinic shampoo launched.
Mr. T. Thomas takes over as Chairman from Mr. V. G. Rajadhyaksha.
Pilot plant for industrial chemicals at Taloja; informal price control on soaps withdrawn; Liril marketed.
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.
Construction work of Haldia chemicals complex begins; Taloja chemicals unit begins functioning.
Jammu synthetic Detergents plant inaugurated; Indian shareholding increases to 18.57%.
Indian shareholding increases to 34%; Fair & Lovely skin cream launched.
Sodium Tripolyphospate plant at Haldia commissioned.
Dr. A. S. Ganguly takes over as Chairman from Mr. T. Thomas; Unilever shareholding in the company comes down to 51%.
Government allows 51% Unilever shareholding.
Foods, Animal Feeds businesses transferred to Lipton.
Agri-products unit at Hyderabad starts functioning - first range of hybrid seeds comes out; Khamgaon Soaps unit and Yavatmal Personal Products unit start production.
Launch of Lipton Taaza tea.
Mr. S. M. Datta takes over as Chairman from Dr. A. S. Ganguly.
Surf Ultra detergent launched.
HUL recognised by Government of India as Star Trading House in Exports.
The erstwhile Brooke Bond India acquires the Kissan brand from the United Breweries Group, giving HUL an entry into the foods business.
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.
HUL enters branded staples business with salt; HUL recognised as Super Star Trading House.
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.
Unilever sets up International Research Laboratory in Bangalore; new Regional Innovation Centres also come up.
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.
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.
HUL enters Ayurvedic health & beauty centre category with the Ayush range and Ayush Therapy Centres.
Launch of Hindustan Lever Network; acquisition of the Amalgam Group.
Pureit test marketing in Chennai.
Harish Manwani takes over as Chairman from Mr. M. S. Banga on July 1, 2005.
Brookefields food operations moved to Mumbai.
Company name formally changed to Hindustan Unilever Limited after receiving the approval of shareholders during the 74th AGM on 18 May 2007.
Sales of Brooke Bond and Surf Excel each cross the Rs 1,000 crore mark.
HUL completes 75 years on 17th October 2008.
Pureit launched across India.
HUL moves to its new headquarters ‘Unilever House’ in Andheri, Mumbai.
Pureit international launch.
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan launched in India.
Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) was set-up. HUF supports national priorities for socio-economic development.
HUL completes 80 years on October 17 2013.
HUL launches ‘Prabhat’ (Dawn) - a Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) linked program to engage with and contribute to the development of local communities around our manufacturing sites.
Unilever’s first aerosol plant in Asia inaugurated in Khamgaon.
In October 2013, Sanjiv Mehta took over as the CEO and Managing Director of HUL.
The ‘Winning in Many Indias’ operating framework, piloted in 2013, launched nationally. Sales offices expanded from four to seven with launch of offices in Lucknow, Indore and Bangalore in addition to the existing sales offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
HUL signed an agreement with Mosons Group for acquisition of its flagship brand ‘Indulekha’
HUL announced signing of an agreement for the sale and transfer of its bread and bakery business under the brand “Modern” to Nimman Foods Private Limited.
Sales of six HUL brands namely Surf excel, Brooke Bond, Wheel, Lifebuoy, Rin and Fair & Lovely cross the rupee 2000 crore mark.
Surf excel crosses the 3000 crore mark.
A new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was commissioned in Doom Dooma Industrial Estate, Assam on 11th March 2017.
HUL signs an agreement with Vijaykant Dairy and Food Products Limited (VDFPL) and its group company to acquire its ice cream and frozen desserts business consisting of its flagship brand ‘Adityaa Milk’ and front end distribution network across geographies.
HUL announced acquisition of VWash, the market leader in female intimate hygiene category to enter the currently underpenetrated and rapidly growing market segment.
Merger of GSK Consumer Healthcare with Hindustan Unilever Limited. Iconic health food drink brands – Horlicks and Boost enter the foods & refreshment portfolio of HUL, making it the largest F&R business in India.
HUL's turnover crossed the INR 50,000 Crore mark for FY 2021 - 2022
In July 2022, Unilever India Limited's new Home Care factory and an automated distribution centre were inaugurated in Sumerpur, Uttar Pradesh. The factory is a zero-carbon factory and Unilever South Asia's first gender-balanced factory.
In March 2023, Rohit Jawa appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of HUL with effect from June 27, 2023.
*References to Fair & Lovely in this article pre-dates the brand’s name change to Glow & Lovely in 2020.
* References to the Fair & Lovely Foundation in this article pre-dates the brand’s name change to Glow & Lovely in 2020. The Foundation’s new name is ‘Glow & Lovely Careers’.