Sime Darby Oils has its origins in a co-operation agreement between
two companies in the United Kingdom.
John Knight, who owned a soap manufacturing company (John Knight Ltd), and R.S. Hudson of Hudson’s Soaps agreed to form a new marketing company called Hudson & Knight in 1946 to act as a selling agent for the products of both companies to grocers and chemists.
In the early 1950’s Unilever operated a number of COD trucks from their operations in Cape Town, Durban and Boksburg. The trucks sold cooking oil (Groundnut oil in 45 gallon drums), white margarines in boxes, bulk detergents in 50lb bags, filled bar soap (Antelope) in 50kg boxes and small tablets of Lux soap (10g) to the non-retail market.
The UK company (Hudson & Knight) is integrated into Unilever. As catering, bakery and industrial markets grew in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Unilever recognised that there is a growing need for a wider and more sophisticated range of products, consequently the decision was made to launch a new company, Hudson & Knight (Proprietary) Limited, in South Africa to cater for these needs.
The COD operations were discontinued in the mid 1980’s due to the growth in number of distributors and wholesalers who could service the market more effectively. The remainder of the market was serviced via a specialized sales and marketing team, delivering through the Unilever warehousing and distribution network and third-party bulk tanker fleet. Unilever purchased Reckitt Columbus (an Industrial Floor cleaning business).
Hudson and Knight (Pty) Ltd consisted of several very diverse divisions, namely: Floor care, Lever industrial (industrial bottle washing, laundry, dish washing, dairy cleaning, HORECA detergents and cleaning chemicals), Industrial & artisanal bakeries, Bulk fats and oils, Food service.
Hudson and Knight (Pty) Ltd is acquired by a Malaysian Plantation company Golden Hope Berhad from UBR (Unilever joint venture between Unilever Bestfoods and Robertson holdings) along with brands like Crispa, Pastrex, Holsum and Mastercraft.
In January 2007 three giant Malaysian companies (Golden Hope, Guthrie and Sime Darby) merge and form an entity named Synergy Drive. In November 2007 it is renamed Sime Darby Berhad and, locally, Hudson and Knight is renamed Sime Darby Hudson and Knight.
Sime Darby Hudson and Knight started its own packing operation in Springs to pack Holsum and Shortening which was previously packed by Unilever.
The demerger of the Sime Darby Group and subsequent listing of Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange on 30 November 2017.
Sime Darby Plantation is renamed Sime Darby Oils and the South African Operation is now known as Sime Darby Oils South Africa.