Aviva Investors to vote against Unilever HQ move from London

- Advertisement -

Unilever shareholder Aviva Investors is preparing to vote down the consumer goods giant’s plans to shift its headquarters out of London.

Aviva Investors, which holds a 1.4% stake in the London-listed firm, warned that the move will fail to benefit shareholders who will likely be forced to offload Unilever stock after its is removed from the FTSE 100.

Unilever, which owns well-known brands including Marmite and Dove soap, will put plans to simplify its dual headquarter structure to shareholders on October 25 and 26.

If successful, Unilever will ditch its second head office in London and run its headquarters solely out of the Netherlands.

Unilever aims to complete the changes by Christmas Eve.

David Cumming, chief investment officer for equities at Aviva Investors, said: “We will be voting against Unilever’s proposal to relinquish its UK domicile in favour of Rotterdam.

“Unilever’s decision appears to be a defensive response to recent governance challenges and consequently will not create any value for shareholders.

“Furthermore, a material number of long-standing supportive UK shareholders will become forced sellers due to the resultant removal of this high-quality company from the FT All Share and FTSE 100 indices.”

Unilever announced that it planned to “simplify” from two legal entities into a single one incorporated in Rotterdam in March.

It dealt a major blow to the UK Government and its efforts to uphold Britain’s status as a centre for business after Brexit.

But Unilever has insisted the move to Rotterdam has “nothing to do with Brexit”.

It also said at the time its 7,300 workers the UK and 3,100 in the Netherlands will be unaffected by the changes.

Unilever, which is also behind well-known household brands such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Lipton teas, employs around 169,000 people around the world.

The changes simplification will be achieved through a UK scheme of arrangement and a Dutch legal merger, which will complete over the weekend of December 22 and 23.

The new shares will begin trading in the Netherlands on December 24.

However, Unilever’s shares are unlikely to continue trading in the FTSE 100 in the wake of the move.

Without a UK headquarters, Unilever is expected to fall short of requirements which would allow a listing on the FTSE 100, where its shares currently trade.

Its shares will continue to trade on the London Stock Exchange, but will no longer be listed on a benchmark index.

As part of the rejig, Unilever will also restructure into three divisions – beauty and personal care, home care, and foods and refreshment – which will each have different headquarters split between the UK and the Netherlands.

The beauty and personal care and home care divisions will be headquartered in London, while the foods and refreshment arm will have its HQ in Rotterdam.

Unilever shares were down 0.4% in morning trading.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.