Global Thematic Investors: "Unilever's Four Chinese Poles and One Polman"
If Qinglong, Pengshan and Meishan are a mouthful, don't worry. Someone in the Corporate Ops room of Unilever (ULVR:LN), a major holding in client portfolios, has stuck a nice blue flag into a red map of China, and you can be sure he's pronouncing them properly. Unilever is targeting Western China by opening a manufacturing base in Sichuan province, a part of China I associate mainly with spicy dishes like Kung Pao Chicken. Paul Polman, Commander-In-Chief, Global Ops, boasted. "The new facility will be Unilever's third world-class green manufacturing base in China and it will become one of Unilever's biggest production facilities globally" (notice how the governance-aware Mr Polman slips the word "green" into the sentence). The other bases are, in case you're still struggling, in Hefei, Anhui, and coastal Tianjin. The base, in the Qinglong Development Zone of Pengshan, a county under the administration of Meishan city, covers 27 hectares. The first phase of this project for producing laundry detergent -better than beating rocks in a river any day- involves an investment of USD 49mn, a mere bagatelle for mighty Unilever. Estimated annual output will exceed 200,000 tons, and it'l be ready to go by 2015.
David Fuller's view The lower Unilever moves, the more interesting it becomes as a long-term investment.
Please note - Eoin is speaking at Fraser Asset Management's 51st Contrary Opinion Forum but will return to Comment of the Day next week.
Eoin is also looking forward to resuming The Chart Seminar, possibly in London on the 7th and 8th of November.