Unilever Netherlands Move Cancelled On Investor Pressure

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The FTSE listed company Unilever, which makes, amongst thousands of household name products, Dove soap and Marmite, has announced that they are cancelling their planned headquarters relocation to the Netherlands.

The cancellation was due to increasing concerns and criticism from investors.

London And Rotterdam

While the company currently has Headquarters in both London and Rotterdam, they announced plans earlier this year (March) to amalgamate the two into the Dutch office, thus leaving the UK completely.

However, this sparked a backlash against the company, with many investors and traders claiming that they would sell their shares in protest of this move.

As such, Unilever announced that because the proposal ‘had not received support from a significant group of shareholders’, they would be revoking their proposal and keeping their London office.

Despite this, the chairman of the company Marijn Dekkers announced that he and the board still felt that the simplification of the structure of Unilever was in the best interests of the firm, and that they would continue to look for ways to simplify the company.

Unilever History

Unilever are prominent on the global stage and one of the largest firms within the UK FTSE 100, with their current share prices giving them an estimated worth of £124 billion.

The company has existed since 1930, when the Dutch margarine firm Unie merged themselves with the UK based soap manufacturer Lever Brothers.

Their dual-headed headquarter structure has been in place since this time, so any change to their structure would pose a significant change for the company.

If the company had left their UK headquarters, they would not have been eligible to be listed within the UK FTSE 100, which many investors felt would devalue the shares, causing mass share dumping and significantly reduce the share price overall.

Future Moves?

It has been suggested that the plans themselves were in reaction to Brexit and the uncertainty of the future trade arrangements between the UK and the rest of Europe, along with the short-lived attempt by Kraft-Heinz to take over the company through hostile means.

Ultimately, the plans are currently not going ahead, but there may be attempts in the future by the company to distance themselves from the UK.