Tax claim against Unilever Brazil
By Sergio Nieto Solis, | 14 June, 2021
The Brazilian tax authorities are demanding more than 2 billion euros from Unilever in connection with a restructuring of the food group in 2001. The total claim has now risen to 2.9 billion euros. It concerns various tax matters in Brazil, according to the annual report about 2020.
The Brazilian tax authorities ruled in 2004 that the restructuring of the Brazilian Unilever branch had no business purpose, but was aimed at avoiding taxes. The court first ruled in favor of Unilever, but in 2013 the tax authorities again filed a case. The claim then amounted to 561 million euros. That has since quadrupled to more than 2 billion euros. According to Unilever, it could take “several years” before a final decision is made.
The restructuring of the food group was part of The Road to Growth: a program that Unilever applied worldwide between 1999 and 2004. Main goal was to focus on leading brands. More than a thousand small brands have disappeared from Unilever’s portfolio. In Brazil, this led to a series of takeovers that bundled the group in 2001 into Unilever Brasil, the company that is now under fire.
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