The location planned for the investment is in Mariel, Cuba’s Special Development Zone, and the factory is due to be opened in 2017.
Signing this deal will see the formation of a new company, Unilever-Suchel S.A., and a $35 million investment (equivalent to €32.3 million) in a personal and home care factory, which will manufacture some of the Anglo-Dutch giant’s top-selling international brands in the segment, including Sedal shampoo, Rexona deodorant, Lux soap, and Close-Up toothpaste.
“We’re very enthusiastic about this approval, which will allow us to strengthen our leadership position in strategic regions, in order to develop home and personal care products that are always aligned with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan,” says Fabio Prado, President of Unilever Mexico & Greater Caribbean, who was at the signing ceremony.
As part of the deal Unilever will take a 60% stake in the venture, and Intersuchel will hold 40%. The factory is expected to generate 300 direct jobs.
The investment in Mariel’s Special Development Zone, which allows foreign and domestic companies to trade and invest with fewer regulations, is an important one for the region and reinforces the original plan for the zone, which was set up to encourage overseas investment.
Since 2011 Cuba has been gradually opening up its economy to outside investment to attract foreign capital and generate new jobs.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Dutch Foreign Trade Minister, Lilianne Ploumen, told reporters that she hoped Unilever would be the first of many Dutch companies to come and invest in Cuba.
Along with Prado and Ploumen, Ana Teresa Igarza, General Director of the Mariel Special Development Zone, and Pedro Fraga, President of Intersuchel S.A., attended the ceremony.