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Unilever puts tea business up for review

A decline in black tea sales sparks the consumer goods company to explore its options

Unilever has put its global tea business up for strategic review.

The multinational consumer products company, whose tea brands include Lipton, Brooke Bond and PG Tips, said sales of black tea had been falling in developed markets for several years "due to changing consumer preferences."

Though Unilever has successfully expanded into the premium, fruit and herbal market, the company said black tea was the largest segment in the category.

The strategic review is expected to conclude by mid-year. Unilever said it would consider all options for the future of the business, including partnerships or a partial sale.

In its full-year 2019 results, Unilever reported net profit dropped 38% to US$6.6 billion from 2018, when profit was boosted by the sale of the company's spreads division. In food and refreshment, underlying sales grew 1.5%, with volumes down 0.2%.

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