Unilever is to acquire the outstanding shares of Codepar S.A. and SPCD S.A., two related home and personal care companies in Tunisia, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is subject to regulatory and stock exchange approval in Tunisia.

Unilever already owns 20.3 percent of Codepar and 7.82 percent of SPCD. Through Codepar, Unilever also owns approximately 11.8 percent of SPCD, bringing Unilever's total ownership of SPCD to 19.6 percent.

The remainder of Codepar and approximately 58 percent of SPCD are owned by one individual. The remainder of SPCD is publicly held and Unilever will offer to purchase these shares for 50.3 Tunisian dinars per share following regulatory approval. The value of the total transaction was not disclosed.

The Tunisian home and personal care businesses of Codepar and SPCD, which employ around 380 people, together account for annual sales of U.S. $43 million (Euro 45 million).

The assets acquired include two factories. Unilever intends to combine the two companies into one integrated home and personal care business with leading positions in laundry, personal wash, oral and hair.

Codepar and SPCD currently manufacture and market Unilever's Omo and Skip brands, together with the local Zed detergent. Hair products include Timotei and Sunsilk shampoos, with the oral category represented through Unilever's international Signal brand. Personal wash products include Lux and Dove.

Tunisia represents an important market in North Africa with strong growth prospects. This investment demonstrates Unilever's commitment to enhancing its presence in North Africa and the Middle East. The new entity will create a strong base from which to generate growth and innovative products for the benefits of consumers. Unilever believes that the local strengths of Codepar and SPCD combined with its own expertise will significantly enhance its position in the North African homecare market.

UNILEVER BACKGROUND: Unilever is one of the world's largest consumer products companies with sales in excess of $45 billion. It produces and markets a wide range of foods, home and personal care products. Unilever operates in 88 countries around the globe and employs 255,000 people.

In the United States, Unilever sales exceeded $8 billion in 1999. It employs 22,000 people and has 72 offices and manufacturing sites in 24 states. Two of Unilever's 12 global Business Groups are headquartered in the United States. Some of their major products are: Foods - North America: Lipton teas, soups, recipe products and side dishes; Wish-Bone salad dressings; Lawry's seasonings and specialty sauces; Imperial, Promise, Country Crock, "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!", Brummel & Brown spreads and sprays; Ragu pasta and pizza sauces; Five Brothers premium pasta sauces; Klondike, Good-Humor, Popsicle, Breyers and Ben & Jerry's ice cream products, Gorton's frozen seafood products and Slim-Fast nutritional and health snack products. Unilever Home and Personal Care - North America: Wisk, "all" and Surf laundry detergents; Snuggle and Final Touch fabric softeners; Sunlight dish detergents; Lever 2000, Caress, Dove and Shield bar soaps; Pond's and Vaseline skin care products; Q-tips cotton swabs and cotton balls; Mentadent, Aim, Close-up and Pepsodent oral care products; Degree, Suave and Brut deodorant/toiletry products; Finesse, Salon Selectives, Suave, ThermaSilk, Aqua Net and Rave hair care products; and Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden cosmetic and fragrance products. In addition, DiverseyLever, a global professional cleaning business, operates in North America, supplying professional cleaning materials and services to institutional and industrial markets.