Consumer goods giant Unilever has teamed up with a Myanmar partner to manufacture and sell home and personal care products in the country.
The partnership is between Unilever Myanmar and Europe and Asia Commercial Company, a home care firm in the nation of 55 million with a fast-emerging middle class.
The two firms will combine their respective home and personal care businesses under the joint venture, Unilever EAC Myanmar Company. Unilever is the major shareholder and the Myanmar operations will be overseen by Unilever's South-east Asia and Australasia regional headquarters in Singapore.
Combining Unilever Myanmar's 12 brands with EAC's 22 brands will almost double the size of Unilever's business and triple its brand portfolio. The firms have three manufacturing facilities in Myanmar. Unilever will also make use of EAC's facilities to localise the manufacture of personal care products it currently imports into Myanmar.
The newly-formed company aims to start distributing personal and home care products by the middle of the year and is looking to build a new head office that can house the two parent firms in one location in the next couple of years.
"We are excited about the synergies that both the businesses can leverage. Unilever's global expertise in R&D, supply chain and marketing, combined with our local manufacturing and distribution capabilities, makes the partnership attractive for us and strengthens our contribution to Myanmar," said EAC chairman U Sein Myint.
Singapore is the global headquarters for five of Unilever's major personal care brands - Lux, Lifebuoy, Ponds, Clear and Close-up. This means the joint venture will be able to ride on Unilever's experience locally to implement such brands in the Myanmar market speedily.
Unilever Singapore's teams in R&D, supply chain and marketing will also provide expertise to help the firm grow in Myanmar.
In addition, Unilever Singapore will continue to provide expertise to support the growth of the "School of 5" initiative, implemented in villages across Myanmar two years ago to eradicate diarrhoea through school and community programmes.