Unilever Now Dutch Firm
Unilever has announced changes in its corporate and governance structure today, the highlight of which is that it will now be one company incorporated in the Dutch land of Netherlands, but retains headquarters of the two divisions in London, in the United Kingdom.
In a statement today, the company said it has unified its two legal entities, N.V. and PLC, into a single legal entity incorporated in the Netherlands.
It however said it will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York.
The company also said it has evolved into three divisions, Beauty and Personal care, Home Care and Foods and Refreshments.
London is still important to the company’s operation, according to the statement. It said the headquarters of the Beauty & Personal Care Division and the Home Care Division will be located in London.
“This secures nearly £1 billion per year of continued spend in the UK, including a significant commitment to R&D.
“The headquarters of the Foods & Refreshment Division will continue to be based in Rotterdam”, it said.
Unilever’s employment of 7,300 people in the UK and 3,100 people in the Netherlands will be unaffected by the changes announced today, it said.
According to chairman Marijn Dekkers: “Unilever’s Board is fully committed to delivering long-term performance and sustainable value for shareholders. The Board believes the move to three Divisions and the simplification of our corporate structure will create a simpler, more agile and more focused company with increased strategic flexibility for value-creating portfolio change.
“Our decision to headquarter the Divisions in the UK and the Netherlands underscores our long-term commitment to both countries. The changes announced today also further strengthen Unilever’s corporate governance, creating for the first time in our history a ‘one share, one vote’ principle for all our shareholders.”
Fears that Unilever will pick Rotterdam over London as its main base were growing before now after the Anglo-Dutch company said that it expected to complete a review of its structure by the end of March.
The move would represent an embarrassing blow to Theresa May’s government as it struggles to present post-Brexit Britain as an ideal home for multinationals.