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A salesman takes a bottle of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) Dove shampoo from a shelf at a shop in Mumbai April 30, 2013. Unilever plans to pay up to $5.4 billion to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary, making its biggest deal in 13 years a huge bet on the strength of demand for personal care and food products in Asia's third-largest economy.
A salesman takes a bottle of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) Dove shampoo from a shelf at a shop in Mumbai April 30, 2013. Unilever plans to pay up to $5.4 billion to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary, making its biggest deal in 13 years a huge bet on the strength of demand for personal care and food products in Asia's third-largest economy.
(Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

CARL MORTISHED

Unilever’s bid to bolster ownership of Indian arm a canny move

ROB Insight is a premium commentary product offering rapid analysis of business and economic news, corporate strategy and policy, published throughout the business day. Visit the ROB Insight homepage for analysis available only to subscribers.

When a company has more cash than uses for it, the classic corporate solution is to buy back stock. Apple recently announced the mother and father of self-investments, with plans to spend $100-billion (U.S.) on its own shares. Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch food and soap company, has found an alternative solution: buy a bigger share of its fastest growing business.