Unilever has decided to combine its three Dutch operating companies and may be considering a similar strategy in the UK.

The consumer goods company will be combining its three Netherlands businesses, Unilever Bestfoods, IgloMora and Lever Faberge to create the Unilever Nederland operating company based in Rotterdam.

The three businesses are to be combines by the second quarter of 2005, and will most probably involve job losses.

The move is part of the company’s plans to reduce its key brands from more than 1,600 to 400, according to reports.