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Unilever is to offload some of its best known brands, including Flora and Stork, as it revamps the business after batting off a 143 billion USA dollar (£115 billion) takeover attempt from Kraft Heinz.

The measures to shore up shareholder support were part of a wholesale restructure of the business following Kraft Heinz' short-lived attempt to mount a $143 billion takeover, which will also include taking on debt for the first time in the highly-conservative business's recent history.

The move comes as part of a wide-ranging review at the Anglo-Dutch firm, which recently saw off a takeover bid from U.S. food giant Kraft Heinz. "It also highlighted the opportunity to go faster and further".

Unilever's London-listed shares, which have held onto the gains made by the Kraft bid as shareholders bet it would spur improved performance, closed up 1 percent at 39.78 pounds, while the FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent.

The company is targeting operating margins, excluding restructuring costs, of 20% by 2020.

Unilever said it would launch a EUR5 billion share-buyback program this year and raise its dividend by 12%, reflecting greater confidence in its outlook for profit growth.

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Polman said Unilever was merging food and refreshments into one unit to become "a leaner, more focused business. better able to compete". Swiss frozen-bakery-goods company Aryzta AG has said it is looking at strategic alternatives for Picard, a popular French frozen-food brand.

The Anglo-Dutch business, which has dual headquarters in both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, says it will also review its legal structure as it adds complexity to the business.

"Following the swift rejection of Kraft Heinz's interest, Unilever shareholders would have been expecting the group to flex its muscles, and it is certainly doing that", he pointed out.

"The review that the (Unilever executive) board has undertaken has been detailed and comprehensive", Dekker said. By midday, they were up 0.6 percent at 46.86 euros in Amsterdam.

It also increased its target for cumulative savings over the next three years to EUR6.00 billion from the previous target of EUR4.00 billion, with EUR2.00 billion coming from increased efficiency of brand and marketing investment and EUR4.00 billion being derived from supply chain savings. The company's last share buyback was in 2007. We will look to increase our strategic flexibility for further portfolio optimisation through a review of the dual-headed legal structure, with a view to simplifying it.

"For 2017, we remain on track to deliver underlying sales growth ahead of our markets".


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