Hindustan Unilever, the listed Indian arm of the consumer goods giant, has announced plans to split its foods and refreshments division in two.

The company said the change was in line with Unilever’s strategy globally. “The reorganisation will enable sharper focus and help to fully leverage the growth opportunities in line with HUL’s ambitions,” Hindustan Unilever said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange yesterday (2 June).

Hindustan Unilever’s food portfolio in India includes Knorr, as well as local brands such as Kissan ketchup.

The company’s refreshments brands include Brooke Bond tea, Bru coffee and Kwality Walls ice creams.

Geetu Verma, executive director for the combined foods and refreshments arm, will lead the food unit. Sudhir Sitapati, the category vice-president for Unilever’s refreshments businesses across south Asia and Africa, will become executive director for the refreshments business in India.

Hindustan Unilever has sold off some food assets in recent months.

In March, Hindustan Unilever struck a deal to sell its rice export business, which includes the brands Gold Seal Indus Valley and Rozana, to local business LT Foods Ltd.

A month earlier, Indian newspaper The Economic Times had claimed Hindustan Unilever was looking to sell a clutch of food brands in the country. The report said the company might offload atta, rice and salt brands as part of moves to focus on fewer food products. Unilever declined to comment when contacted at the time by just-food.

Last September, Hindustan Unilever struck a deal to sell its bakery unit in the country to private-equity firm Everstone Capital.