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Unilever's UK investors gear up for tussle over dual headquarters

The maker of products such as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream backed down in the face of a rebellion by UK investors in October, but said it was still considering ditching its Anglo-Dutch struct

Reuters 

Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Some of Unilever's biggest investors in the UK are planning to put renewed pressure on the consumer goods giant to abandon the idea of ditching its dual headquarters in favour of the Netherlands.

The maker of products such as soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream backed down in the face of a rebellion by UK investors in October, but said in January it was still considering ditching its Anglo-Dutch structure.

The company had said that becoming a single legal entity would simplify its operations and facilitate deal-making. Many UK shareholders oppose the move that would see them forced to sell the shares. Others dispute the strategic rationale. “It’s definitely not gone away from their thinking... they still believe it is right for the business,” said Mirza Baig, Global Head of Governance at Investors, the 20th biggest investor in the PLC shares, Refinitiv data showed.

At the company's full-year results in January, Chief Executive Alan Jope described the issue as "important, but not urgent". He said a simpler structure still made sense but he needed to work out how to do it. He said he had no specific timeframe. A spokeswoman had no further comment.

First Published: Thu, March 21 2019. 22:02 IST
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