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Unilever to return $5.3 billion to investors

Staff Writer |
Unilever promised a multi-billion pound program of shareholder rewards after a corporate rethink sparked by a takeover approach from Kraft Heinz.

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Under a restructuring sparked by the rebuffed $143 billion offer by its U.S. rival, the maker of Dove soap and Knorr soup set out an accelerated cost-saving plan, the sale of its Flora to Stork spreads business where sales are declining, and a review of its dual-headed Anglo-Dutch structure.

As part of its strategy to justify its rejection of Kraft Heinz's approach, Unilever will also splash out 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) on a share buyback and will raise its dividend 12 percent this year.

Unilever, one of Europe's biggest blue-chip stocks, called the Kraft episode a "trigger moment" to assess its business, as the global packaged goods industry faces slowing growth and greater competition.

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