Marmite maker Unilever faces shareholder revolt over move to Netherlands
Unilever could see its plans to move to a single headquarters in the Netherlands rejected by shareholders, after one of its biggest investors said it would vote against the proposal.
Aviva, which owns 1.4 per cent of the consumer goods giant, said it was not convinced by the logic of the shift from dual bases in London and Rotterdam. Other big institutional investors have also expressed concern about the plans.
Unilever, which produces a host of household brands including Marmite, Dove and Lipton, needs to secure the votes of 75 per cent of its UK shareholders and half of Dutch shareholders in polls next month, or the deal will be blocked.
Unilever has been listed on the FTSE 100 since the index was launched in 1984 and is one of its largest companies, with a value of around Â£124bn.
It claims the move to a single Dutch base will save money and allow it to be more flexible. But scrapping its UK headquarters would also mean it c ould no longer be part of the FTSE, the indexâs compiler confirmed on Friday. Many funds that track the FTSE would be forced to sell their Unilever shares.
David Cumming, chief investment officer for equities at Aviva Investors, told the BBCâs Today programme: âAside from the fact it is disappointing to see a world class company like Unilever leave the UK, it also means long-standing UK shareholders may be forced to sell their stock.
âI donât see logically why any UK shareholder would support their d ecision to go Dutch, because there is no upside only downside.â
Columbia Threadneedle Investments said last week in a statement: âWe continue to agree that restructuring Unilever makes sense, but are still of the view that Unileverâs approach discriminates against UK shareholders.â
Unileverâs third largest investor, Lindsell Train, has said the company could face additional tax risks in the Netherlands.Source: Google News Netherlands | Netizen 24 Netherlands