Unilever abandons plans to move headquarters after investor pressure

Unilever abandons plans to move headquarters after investor pressure

However, Unilever - whose brands also include PG Tips and Lipton tea, Persil washing powder and Magnum ice cream - has throughout insisted the move to Rotterdam was "nothing to do with Brexit".

Unilever (LON:ULVR) is dropping its plans to scrap its dual-headed structure and create a single holding company in the Netherlands, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant has said.

Shareholder Ali Miremadi of Swiss asset manager GAM said that sometimes Unilever shareholders had been made to feel their concerns about performance were very near-term, whereas Unilever preferred to focus on the long term.

The company chose to review its dual corporate structure after fending off a £115,000,000,000 takeover bid by USA food giant Kraft Heinz a year ago.

Despite Unilever's efforts to rally support for the plan, investors representing 10% or more of the company's shares outstanding pledged to vote it down, with new names joining the dissidents nearly daily over the last few weeks.

Waldschmidt said the bigger drivers for Unilever's shares were US interest rates and continued difficulties in emerging markets, particularly related to their currencies.

Shareholders representing about 12% of Unilever had publicly opposed the move, concerned about the effective forced selling of their shares with no premium, uncertainty around the future tax treatment of Dutch dividends and a perception that the move was partly aimed at securing greater takeover protection under Dutch law. They were anxious about the effective forced selling of their shares with no premium, uncertainty around the future tax treatment of Dutch dividends and a perception that the move was partly aimed at securing greater takeover protection under Dutch law.

But on Friday Unilever recognised that the proposal had not received support from a significant group of shareholders.

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The board continues to believe that simplifying our dual-headed structure would, over time, provide opportunities to further accelerate value creation and serve the best long-term interests of Unilever.

'The board will now consider its next steps and will continue to engage with our shareholders.

Unilever was formed in 1929 with the merger of UK's Lever Brothers and the Dutch company Margarine Unie.

Unilever has indicated that there should not be consequences in terms of employment and meant to retain its three multiple listings on Stock exchanges in London, Amsterdam and NY.

Earlier this week, influential proxy advisory firm PIRC recommended shareholders vote against the move.

When the plan was announced it landed a major blow to the United Kingdom government's effort to promote Britain as a centre for business post-Brexit.

Mark Rutte is now putting all his weight into the balance within the coalition government to vote on the removal of the tax on dividends, in order to attract multinationals.

Unions had also come out against Unilever's planned move, arguing that it was vital for the maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and other companies to stay in the UK.

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