Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business
Ben & Jerry’s said its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting (Shutterstock)
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Updated 06 July 2022

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

NEW YORK: Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank, according to Reuters.

The complaint filed in the US District Court in Manhattan said the sale announced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to protect when Unilever acquired the company in 2000.

An injunction against transferring the business and related trademarks to Avi Zinger, who runs American Quality Products Ltd, was essential to “protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent decades building,” the complaint said.

Ben & Jerry’s said its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting.

Unilever, in a statement, said it does not discuss pending litigation, but that it had the right to sell the disputed business and the transaction had already closed.

“It’s a done deal,” Zinger’s lawyer Alyza Lewin said in a separate statement. The sale resolved Zinger’s own lawsuit in March against Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

The dispute highlights challenges facing consumer brands taking a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Most countries consider the settlements illegal. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc. reversed a five-month-old decision to stop listing properties in the settlements.

Last July, Ben & Jerry’s said it would end sales in the occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade relationship with Zinger.

Israel condemned the move, and some Jewish groups accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some investors, including at least seven US states, divested their Unilever holdings.

Unilever has more than 400 brands including Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline skin lotion.

Ben & Jerry’s was founded in a renovated gas station in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

No longer involved in Ben & Jerry’s operations, they wrote in the New York Times last July that they supported Israel but opposed its “illegal occupation” of the West Bank. 

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RIYADH: Oil prices were little changed on Thursday as investors grappled with falling stockpiles in the US, rising output from Russia and worries about a potential global recession.

Brent crude futures climbed 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $93.75 a barrel by 0347 GMT. 

US crude futures gained 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $88.21 a barrel.

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Military-ruled Myanmar plans to import Russian gasoline and fuel oil to ease supply concerns and rising prices, a junta spokesperson said, the latest developing country to do so amid a global energy crisis.

The Southeast Asian country has maintained friendly ties with Russia, even as both remain under a raft of sanctions from Western countries — Myanmar for a military coup that overthrew an elected government last year, and Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation.”

Russia is seeking new customers for its energy in the region as its biggest export destination, Europe, will impose an embargo on Russian oil in phases later this year.

“We have received permission to import petrol from Russia,” military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said during a news conference on Wednesday, adding that it was favored for its “quality and low cost.”

Fuel oil shipments are due to start arriving from September, according to media.

Phillips 66 offers to buy pipeline operator DCP Midstream

US refiner Phillips 66 on Wednesday offered to acquire the public units of DCP Midstream in a deal that would value the pipeline operator at a $7.2 billion deal and bulk up Phillip’s natural gas liquids business.

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Aker Energy, controlled by Aker ASA, owns 50 percent in the deepwater block off Ghana where the Pecan field is located, while Lukoil holds 38 percent, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation has 10 percent and Fueltrade 2 percent.

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TASI starts higher as new earnings reports boost investors’ sentiment: Opening bell

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index started the week’s final session higher as investors took comfort in the release of new earnings reports.

TAS edged up 0.14 percent to 12,664, while the parallel Nomu market started almost flat at 21,513, as of 10:06 a.m. Saudi time.

The Kingdom’s largest valued bank Al Rajhi rose 0.56 percent, while The Saudi National Bank, the country's largest lender, increased 0.14 percent.

Among the Kingdom's leading information technology firms, Elm and Al Moammar Information Systems Co. declined 0.52 percent and 0.74 percent, respectively.

Red Sea International Co. dropped 0.42 percent, after it secured financing from SABB worth SR35 million.

Taiba Investments Co. rose 0.66 percent, after it turned into a profit of SR55 million ($15 million) in the first half, wiping out losses of SR14.8 million from the same period last year.

Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. dropped 2.05 percent, despite reporting a 31 percent increase in profits for the first half of the year to SR138 million.

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RIYADH: Saudi stocks jumped on Wednesday, thanks to strong first-half earnings despite mixed results from the insurance and cement sectors.

TASI the main index added 0.8 percent to 12,646, while the parallel Nomu market lost 2.3 percent to 21,533, as information technology consulting firm Saudi Networkers Services Co. made a weak stock market debut.

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 1.3 and 0.7 percent, respectively, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain. While the Omani index edged 0.1 percent lower.

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Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. reported a higher profit of SR138 million ($37 million) for the first half of 2022, on the back of sales growth

Malath Cooperative Insurance Co. posted a 216 percent higher net loss before Zakat of SR25 million for the first half of 2022

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National Gas and Industrialization Co. announced it is studying the feasibility of partnering with UK’s Aburi Composites and Front End Co. to operate a joint composite cylinder factory

Naba Alsaha’s initial public offering for listing on Nomu was concluded with 531 percent coverage

Andalus Property Co. appointed Mashal Ibrahim Abuneef as its acting CEO effective Sep. 1

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August 18, 2022

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RIYADH: Taiba Investments Co. has turned into a profit of SR55 million ($15 million) in the first half of the year, wiping out losses of SR14.8 million from the same period last year.

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Its revenues soared 103 percent to SR134 million during the first six months of 2022.

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