Unilever abandons plan to move from its London headquarters

The Board of Unilever says it has abandoned its plan to move from its London headquarters. The British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company announced on Friday that it will not be moving from its London headquarters.

The company currently has two head offices; one in London and the other in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was considering shutting down the London headquarters and moving everything to its Dutch HQ.

Unilever described the plan as a move towards ‘simplification.’ British tabloids, on the other hand, claimed it was a reaction to BREXIT.

BREXIT stands for BRitain EXITing the European Union. In 2016, Britons voted for BREXIT in a referendum. In March 2019, the UK will most likely become an ex-Member State of the EU.

Unilever London Headquarters stays
Some people believe that being headquartered in the Netherlands might have protected Unilever from future hostile takeover bids. The Netherlands’ corporate law is different from the UK’s.

Abandoning London headquarters won’t happen

In a press release it issued on Friday, Unilever wrote:

“The Unilever Board has today decided to withdraw its proposal to simplify Unilever’s dual-headed legal structure.”

“In developing the proposal, the Board was guided by the opportunity to unlock value for our shareholders by creating a stronger, simpler and more competitive Unilever that is better positioned for long-term success.”

The Unilever Board says it recognizes that the plan had not received the shareholder support it had expected. Given that lack of support, it said it, therefore, considered it appropriate to withdraw.

Unilever’s Chairman, Marijn Dekkers, said:

“Unilever has built a long track record of consistent and competitive performance. The Board continues to believe that simplifying our dual-headed structure would, over time, provide opportunities to further accelerate value creation and serve the best long-term interests of Unilever.”

“The Board will now consider its next steps and will continue to engage with our shareholders. We will proceed with the plan to cancel the NV preference shares, further strengthening our corporate governance.”

Unilever’s products

Unilever sells beverages, foods, personal care products, and cleaning agents. It owns over 400 brands, which are organized into 1. Foods. 2. Refreshments. 3. Home Care. 4. Beauty and Personal Care.

Its best-selling brands include Dove, Axe/Lynx, Hellmann’s/Best Foods, Lipton, Knorr, Lux/Radox, and Omo/Surf. It also sells Sunsilk, Magnum, Vaseline, VO5, TRESemmé, and Rexona/Sure.

Unilever’s total revenue in 2017 was $62,622 billion. In 2017, it had 169,000 employees. It has two holding companies: Unilever plc in the UK and Unilever N.V. in the Netherlands.