Wednesday 14 November 2018

Unilever confirms December date for headquarters shift from London to Rotterdam

Unilever CEO Paul Polman has recommended the move
Unilever CEO Paul Polman has recommended the move

Holly Williams

Consumer goods giant Unilever has confirmed it expects to ditch London as the base of its legal headquarters in December as it prepares to shift to the Netherlands.

The group, which owns well-known brands including Marmite and Dove soap, said it will put the plans to vote at general meetings on October 25 and 26, with aims to complete the changes on Christmas Eve.

But reports have suggested Unilever is still working to convince investors of the merits of the change and is at risk of a shareholder revolt over the proposals.

Unilever announced in March that it planned to "simplify" from two legal entities into a single one incorporated in Rotterdam.

It dealt a major blow to the UK Government and its efforts to uphold Britain's status as a centre for business after Brexit.

But Unilever has insisted the move to Rotterdam has "nothing to do with Brexit".

It also said at the time its 7,300 workers the UK and 3,100 in the Netherlands will be unaffected by the changes.

Unilever, which is also behind well-known household brands such as Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Lipton teas, employs around 169,000 people around the world.

Unilever will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York if investors give the plans the go-ahead.

The changes simplification will be achieved through a UK scheme of arrangement and a Dutch legal merger, which will complete over the weekend of December 22 and 23.

The new shares will begin trading in the Netherlands on December 24.

As part of the rejig, Unilever will also restructure into three divisions - beauty and personal care, home care, and foods and refreshment - which will each have different headquarters split between the UK and the Netherlands.

The beauty and personal care and home care divisions will be headquartered in London, while the foods and refreshment arm will have its HQ in Rotterdam.

Press Association

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