Now that Unilever has agreed the sale of its Bestfoods’ bakery business to Canada’s George Weston, its ambitious plan, the ‘Path to Growth,’ looks right on schedule.

Analysts now expect Unilever to tidy its portfolio by selling less profitable brands and condense its operations to a core of 400 so-called power brands within the three years left to run on its restructuring plans.

Unilever is unlikely to be active in the market for food acquisitions but there is renewed speculation that it may now bid for non-food brands like Clairol, the hair products business, being sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Recent sales would give them the leverage to instigate a bid but Unilever may also choose to use the money to cut its net debt, which stood at US$29bn at the end of last year.