Unilever sells financial shared services to Capgemini

Capgemini has agreed to buy consumer goods giant Unilever’s financial shared services centres in Chile and Brazil for an undisclosed sum.

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Capgemini has agreed to buy Unilever’s financial shared services centres in Chile and Brazil for an undisclosed sum.

Under a new agreement, the IT services firm will then provide financial shared services business process outsourcing to the consumer goods giant’s Latin American offices for seven years.

The changeover will begin in early May, and will include Capgemini providing specific transactional tax services for Unilever in Brazil. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The move follows Capgemini’s purchase in 2006 of a majority stake in Unilever India Shared Services, which led to the services firm providing BPO financial shared services to Unilever in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

John Bird, senior vice president finance & IT at Unilever Americas, said the purchase was a key step in Unilever’s group-wide rationalisation programme called 'One Unilever'. The programme is designed to cut costs and increase efficiency by standardising regional business processes and streamlining IT systems.

“This decision is consistent with Unilever's strategy to seek efficiencies in its ways of working by reducing complexity and leveraging the scale and best practices of outsourcing providers,” he said. In February, Unilever announced the programme had saved it £740m over the last 12 months.

The company recently undertook other steps to cut costs in its Latin American business, signing a five-year agreement with IBM to transform the sourcing and procurement operations there.

Following the integration of Unilever’s financial shared service centres Chile and Brazil into Capgemini’s Rightshore global delivery network, approximately 400 services staff from Unilever will move to Capgemini. As a result over 1,100 Capgemini BPO staff will be delivering financial shared services for Unilever in Asia, Middle East and Latin America.

In February this year, Unilever also signed a £340m deal with HP to manage the consumer goods giant's technology infrastructure in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Turkey and the Middle East.

Under the contact, HP will provide Unilever with an infrastructure capable of adapting to changing business needs by "standardising, virtualising and optimising" Unilever's enterprise computing environment, HP said in a statement. HP is also charged with working with Unilever partners such as BT, Microsoft and SAP to enable reduced costs and tighter integration of new applications.

Last year, Unilever also strengthened its enterprise resource planning commitment with SAP.

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