This puts an end to the system under which Unilever consisted of two companies on paper and had two head offices. This will now be a UK company that will pay tax in the UK.
Simplification was a desire
The company makes the decision after a year and a half of research. It has no consequences for activities, production sites or employees in the UK or the Netherlands.
The head office of the Food Division will remain in Rotterdam, and the head office of the Home Products and Care divisions will remain in London, Unilever said in a press release. About 2,500 people work in the Netherlands, and 6,000 in the United Kingdom.
Simplifying the corporate structure is a process Unilever has been working on for years. The company is taking this step, among other things, to facilitate acquisitions.
If it wanted to pay for takeovers through its own shares, it often had to do so through shares in the British subsidiary and shares in the Dutch subsidiary. It is easier to conduct this type of transaction in the shares of a single company.
Listing on AEX
The company’s shareholders will receive one Unilever PLC share for every Unilever NV share. Initially, the company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, FTSE. The company also wants to list on the AEX exchange, where it will submit an application to stock exchange company Euronext.
Secession in the Netherlands
The company also previously shared this decision with the Dutch government to reassure it that Unilever’s position in the Netherlands will not change. Activities managed from the Netherlands represent 40 percent of the entire company’s turnover.
If Unilever decides to spin off its food and beverage business and list it on the stock exchange, this will happen in the Netherlands, the company has promised at the government’s request.
The decision is disappointing for the Cabinet, says Economic Affairs Minister Eric Wiebs. “I regret this intention, but it is not a surprise. Jobs and activities still exist in the Netherlands, which is positive,” he said.
He is optimistic that the company wants to strengthen its food and beverage division here. “This will make our strong agri-food sector even stronger,” says Wipes.