Unilever Mexico is among the 15 largest Unilever operations in the world. If you take into consideration the fact that Unilever draws more than 50% of its global turnover from developing and emerging economies, then Mexico is extremely relevant for our business. Mexico has a lot of potential to grow. If you look at the Mexican consumer and where Mexico is located, we have all the preconditions to grow very fast. That is the current thinking we have within Unilever. We have a very strong presence in the deodorants market, as well as in the food products market—soups, bouillon cubes, and ice cream. We run a very important operation in the shampoo segment, and occupy a good position in soy beverages as well. We are present in several categories and we never stop investing. We represent around 20 brands in total. There are four plants in Mexico. A new plant was opened very recently, and it is going to supply Mexico, Latin America, Europe, and the US.
ORIOL BONACLOCHA DOLCET
Mexico is within the top 10 countries for the company’s operations. Henkel has begun to focus on emerging markets, which represent 43% of the company’s total global sales. Emerging markets are important in terms of potential market size, future opportunities, and investments for the company. The year 2011 marked large investment in every segment. For example, in the laundry and home care segment, we introduced Persil, the flagship brand of the company in Germany. In cosmetics and personal care, we introduced hair coloration Palette under the Schwarzkopf Professional brand. In adhesives technology, we launched initiatives in industrial areas and introduced a new extension of Resistol called Resistol 911. Business doubled in 2011, and all three segments contributed to that growth. The company began operations in Mexico 53 years ago. With experience in the country, we knew that both the company and the Mexican market were ready for new initiatives.
CLAUDIO X. GONZÁLEZ
We are a consumer products company and strongly depend on innovation. The main reason behind our good performance in 2010 was our robust innovation strategy. We have improved and streamlined the basic components of our disposable diapers, making them thinner and adjustable while not losing any functionality. We applied this practice to many of our different product lines. Also, Mexico performed well economically as a nation, and has bounced back from the difficulties it faced in 2009. We believe we can grow at a rate close to the one we saw in 2010—6% in net sales. In the first half of 2011 the rate was a bit lower, but we believe that in the second half it will be stronger. We are also up against some strong comparisons to 2010 in the second half of 2011. We principally focus our attention on R&D. We have a large R&D section that works on local initiatives and on coordinating and cooperating with Kimberly-Clark worldwide in order to bring the best ideas from markets all over the globe.
The company has strongly positioned itself within the market, focusing its efforts on Mexico City. This has enabled us to be a very strong company. OfficeMax registered high growth rates in 2007 and 2008, when the company adopted a new business strategy to tackle the global financial crisis. We revised product assortments, price lists, and suppliers. OfficeMax also closed a number of stores. Such measures were taken in order to adapt to the changing business climate and enable the company to grow in the future. At the same time, we launched synergy initiatives with our offices in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Moreover, we carried out important business activities to develop new products and brands. Our new strategy resulted in the creation of more than 1,000 products, the renegotiation of important contracts, and the establishment of a key partnership; our company is now an official Apple distributor.
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