Unilever Group (IW 1000/66) announced last week that is investing €50 million (US$ 66 million) to set up its first Asian aerosol deodorant manufacturing facility in Khamgaon, Maharashtra.

This investment comes on the heels of a recent €70 million commitment to build new homecare liquids and distribution facilities in Thailand and a €75 million investment to build a new home care factory. Unilever also announced that it will expand existing manufacturing plants in South Africa announced at the end of January.

"This investment in India is part of our broader expansion plans to help us achieve our ambition of doubling our business, whilst halving our environmental impact,” Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer Unilever, said. “The Khamgaon plant is one of the thirty new factories being built by 2015 and we will utilize the latest technology to deliver the increased quality products our consumers demand whilst meeting the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commitments."

Investment in Khamgaon will be phased over three years and production capacity will gradually be scaled up to generate direct employment for over 150 people and indirect employment for about 200 people.

The plant will service demand from India and across South East Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

The plant will utilize the latest technologies to maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste water to zero, the company said.  It is  in line with Unilever’s goal of reducing water use in manufacturing.

Hindustan Unilever Limited has reduced water usage in its manufacturing operations by 10.1% when compared with 2010 and by 21.5% compared to our 2008 baseline. More than 75% of HUL’s manufacturing sites are zero-discharge sites.

"Today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to cater to our growth in India,” said Nitin Paranjpe, Hindustan Unilever CEO. “ It will enable us to better serve consumers with innovation and green technology, as well as improve service levels to our retail customers"

Unilever directly employs more than 16,000 people full time in India. Head office is in Mumbai with more than 40 manufacturing plants across the country.