Unilever picks London as its home over Rotterdam

The Hague: Consumer giant Unilever said on Thursday it will combine its Dutch and British arms in a single London-based company, two years after a failed bid to move the firm’s headquarters to the Netherlands.

The maker of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap and the yeasty spread Marmite said ending its 90-year-old double-headed structure would make it more responsive to challenges including the coronavirus pandemic. But it insisted that its presence and operations in both the Netherlands and Britain would “remain unchanged”, and it would keep its listings on both the London and Amsterdam stock exchanges.

Unilever said in a statement that after an 18-month review it believed that “moving from the current dual-headed legal structure to a single parent company will bring significant benefits”.

It said a major review of its important tea business showed that the current Anglo-Dutch structure “can create disadvantages for the group”, for example when it came to selling parts of the firm.

“It is also clear that the Covid-19 pandemic will create a business environment in which having as much flexibility and responsiveness as possible will be critically important,” it said.

The Dutch entity would therefore be merged into one single parent company based in London, Unilever PLC, “creating a simpler company with greater strategic flexibility, that is better positioned for future success.”

Unilever was founded in 1930 after the Dutch margarine producer Margarien Unie merged with British soapmaker Lever Brothers, but has kept its dual-headed structure since then. It has since become aglobal behemoth with brands also including Lipton tea, Magnum ice cream and Knorr foods.

[Source – Economic Times]


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