Unilever reviewing options for weight management brand Slim.Fast

Unilever reviewing options for weight management brand Slim.Fast

Unilever today (24 April) confirmed it is reviewing its options over the future of its Slim.Fast and North America pasta sauces businesses.

Both divisions had been the subject of speculation. Last month, Bloomberg said Unilever had appointed Morgan Stanley to help offload its Ragu pasta sauce brand. In January, Sky News claimed Unilever had been discussing whether to sell Slim.Fast.

In a line within Unilever's announcement of its sales for the first quarter of 2014 today, the consumer goods giant publicly confirmed it is was weighing up the future of the businesses.

"Consistent with our commitment to rigorously review our portfolio we are undertaking a strategic review of our North America pasta sauces business and the Slim.Fast brand," Unilever said.

The Anglo-Dutch group has steadily shed food businesses in recent years. The most recent sale came in February when Unilever struck a deal to sell its meat snacks arm - including the Peperami and Bifi brands - to US beef jerky producer Jack Link's.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood said the review of Slim.Fast and the pasta sauces units would "eventually lead to a sale".

"This is a positive move in-line with our thesis that Unilever is slowing moving away from food and towards home and personal care," Wood said.

In the first three months of 2014, Unilever reported a 6.3% fall in turnover due to the impact of exchange rates. Underlying sales were up 3.3%.

Turnover from Unilever's food arm reached EUR3bn, equating to a 1.7% fall in underlying sales, with the company pointing to this year's later Easter.