Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation that owns many of the world's consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products.
Unilever is a dual-listed company consisting of Unilever N.V. in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Unilever PLC in London, United Kingdom. This arrangement is similar to those of Reed Elsevier and Royal Dutch Shell prior to their unified structures. Both Unilever companies have the same directors and effectively operate as a single business. The current non-executive Chairman of Unilever N.V. and PLC is Michael Treschow while Paul Polman is Group Chief Executive.
Unilever's main international competitors include Nestlé and Procter & Gamble. They also face competition in local markets or product ranges from companies such as ConAgra, Danone, General Mills, Henkel, Kraft Foods, Mars, Inc., Pepsico, Reckitt Benckiser, Sara Lee and S. C. Johnson & Son.
Unilever was created in 1930 by the amalgamation of the operations of British soapmaker Lever Brothers and Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie, a merger as palm oil was a major raw material for both margarines and soaps and could be imported more efficiently in larger quantities.