Unilever may sell shares of subsidiaries in developing countries, to meet political demands for wider ownership.

Chairman of the Anglo-Dutch group Niall FitzGerald told The Times that Unilever will have more than half of its business in developing countries within a decade, and already has listed units in India, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Unilever's shareholders “could, over time, come under pressure to have the shareholding more evenly spread'' he said.

FitzGerald added that the company might try to attract investors from developing countries into Unilever's British and Dutch parent companies, or seek listings for local companies.