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History of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)

14 June 20236 mins read by Angel One
We all have, at some point, consumed products by one of the biggest FMCG giants, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). But do you know how it grew to this level?
History of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)
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Almost every individual in India uses one or more home & personal care products and food & beverages from Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), one of India’s most prominent FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) brands. With 50+ brands across various categories like life essentials, colour cosmetics, skin cleansing, home and hygiene, tea, coffee, ice creams, and more, the company is now a part of the everyday lives of millions of consumers in India. However, only a few know that HUL is a subsidiary of Unilever, one of the top suppliers in food & beverages, personal care, and home care segments in more than 190 countries. 

Apart from fulfilling consumer needs, the company believes in sustainability and has established several environmental goals to give back to nature.

HUL started its operations in 1888 under the name ‘Sunlight Soap.’ With this began the era of selling, packaging, and branding FMCG products while keeping customers satisfied. Read on to learn more about the entire journey of HUL and Hindustan Lever companies. 

Information about HUL

Below is a quick overview of the incorporation of HUL, its owners, market capitalization, presence, and more.

Incorporation Date May 1933, under the name of Lever Brother India Limited
Parent Company Unilever
No. of Subsidiaries 13
Divisions 3 – Home Care, Beauty & Personal Care, & Food & Beverages 
Hindustan Unilever Net Worth (In India) ₹ 6.17 Trillion (As of 13-May-23)
Turnover (FY 22-23) (In India) ₹ 58K Crore

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) History 

With 90 years of legacy in India, HUL has become a home brand, with nine out of ten Indians using it. Let’s revisit the history of this famous company through the chronology of events as mentioned below. 

Year Achievement
1888 Sunlight Soap introduced in India
  • Introduction of Lifebuoy Soap
  • Lever Brothers appoint agents in 4 cities – Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karachi
1902 India witnessed the launch of Pears Soap
1903 The tea industry witnessed the landmark launch of Brooke Bond Red Label Tea
1905 Lux Flakes launched in India
1913 HUL launched the Vim Scouring Powder
1914 Vinolia Soap introduced
1918 Vanaspati was introduced by Dutch margarine manufacturers, including Van Den Berghs, Jurgens, Verschure Creameries, and Hartgos
1922 Introduction of Rinso Soap Powder
1924 Gibbs dental preparations were introduced
1925 North West Soap Company’s control was taken over by Lever Brothers
1926 Dalda Trademark was registered by Hartogs
1930 Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie were merged to form Unilever on 01-Jan
  • On 27-Nov, Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company was registered
  • Acquisition of Sewri plant site
1932 The company started manufacturing Vanaspati at the Sewri plant site acquired in 1931
  • Application to set up a soap factory next to the Sewri factory was made
  • On 17-Oct, Lever Brothers India Limited was incorporated
  • HUL starts soap manufacturing at Sewri Factory in October
  • North West Soap Company rented the Garden Reach Factory and expanded it to produce Lever brand products
1935 This year marks the launch of one of the biggest personal care brands in India with the incorporation of United Traders on 11-May
1937 India’s one of the first covenant managers – Mr. Prakash Tandon, joins HVM
  • The Garden Reach Factory, rented in 1935, is now purchased
  • The company work towards building Dalda Vanaspati as a brand
  • The company takes over agencies in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karachi
  • Moreover, the company also acquire its own sales force
1943 The company starts manufacturing personal care products in India at the Garden Reach Factory
1947 The well-known Pond’s Cold Cream was launched
  • Mr. Prakash Tandon becomes the 1st Indian Director of the company
  • Vanaspati factories are bought in Shamnagar, Tiruchy, and Ghaziabad
1956 Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) was formed with the merger of 3 companies and had a 10% Indian equity participation
1957 Unilever’s Special Committee allows research activity by HUL
1958 The research unit approved by Special Committee starts its operations at the Mumbai Factory
1959 The detergent industry witnessed a turning milestone with the launch of Surf
1962 HUL starts a new export department, formally
1963  Head office is inaugurated at Backbay Reclamation, Mumbai
1964 The famous Sunsilk Shampoo has been launched
1965 The Indian shareholding increased to 14%
  • Lever’s Baby Food, along with other food products launched
  • Taj Mahal Tea is introduced
1967 HUL opens the gates of the Hindustan Unilever Research Center
  • Rin Bar and Bru Coffee were launched
  • Production of Fine Chemical Units is started
1971 Clinic Shampoo is launched
1975 Close-up Toothpaste was launched
  • Synthetic Detergents Plant was introduced in Jammu
  • Indian equity participation increased to 18.57%
  • Indian shareholding sees a sudden jump to 34%
  • Fair & Lovely Skin Care Cream was launched
1988 Indians are introduced to Lipton Taaza Tea
1992 The Government of India recognised HUL as a Star Trading House in exports
1993 HUL entered the food business as Brooke Bond India acquired the Kissan brand from the United Breweries Group
  • HUL merges with the Tata Oil Mills Company (TOMCO), its biggest competitor, making it the largest in India
  • HUL forms Unilever Nepal Limited
  • Forms a 50:50 joint venture with US-based Kimberley-Clark Corporation
  • Entered the branded staple business with Salt
  • Recognised as the Super Star Trading House
1996 Merged with Lakme, India’s major cosmetics brand, to form Lakme Lever Ltd. in a 50:50 joint venture
1998 On 01-Jan, Pond’s India Limited merges with HUL
2002 HUL brings in Ayush Range products and starts Ayush Therapy Centers
2007 The company’s name was finally changed to Hindustan Unilever Limited post shareholders’ approval in the Annual General Meeting
2008 Pureit debuts in India as HUL marks its 75 years
2010 Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) was set up to support socio-economic development
  • The ‘Winning in many Indias’ operating framework has been launched throughout India
  • 3 new sales offices were launched in Indore, Bangalore, and Lucknow, taking the count to 7
2016 Sales of Brooke Bond, Lifebuoy, Wheel, Fair & Lovely, & Rin crosses ₹2000 crore while Surf Excel crosses ₹3000 crore
2020 HUL announced that it would be acquiring VWash, the leading brand in family hygiene
  • For FY 2021-22, HUL booked a turnover of ₹50,000
  • Unilever India Limited inaugurated a new home care factory and an automated distribution center in Sumerpur, Uttar Pradesh (it is a zero-carbon factory and also the first gender-balanced factory by Unilever South Asia)
2023 W.e.f from 27-June, Rohit Jawa has been appointed as the CEO and Managing Director (MD)


HUL, one of India’s most well-known brands, has a long and glorious history. Starting with just a soap business, the company has seen many lines as well as vertical extensions and become India’s leading consumer products company. Not only this, but the company also understands and fulfills its responsibility towards society by involving in various socio-economic and sustainable practices. Want to invest in stocks with such marvelous history? Open a Demat account with Angel One and start investing. 

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