Video: A win for London as Unilever opts for UK base

Unilever will be fully based in the UK after nearly 100 years as a joint Anglo-Dutch operation if the change gains shareholder approval.

Editor’s note:
The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters.

Brexit supporters may seize on it as a victory. Unilever plans to restructure as a single holding company based in Britain. Since 1930 it’s been a joint Anglo-Dutch operation, with its main offices in London and Rotterdam.

Now the latest plan comes just two years after it had decided to settle in the Netherlands. That was sunk by a UK shareholder revolt.

Unilever is a consumer brands giant, making everything from Dove soap to Marmite and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Now the new plan will require shareholder approval. It’s driven partly by a desire to demerge the firm’s tea business — a move seen as tricky under the dual structure. The change will be achieved by a cross-border merger, with Dutch shares swapped for stock in the new British entity.

Unilever says it will retain listings in London and Amsterdam. But the move still sparked Dutch disappointment. The country’s economy minister said they would have preferred a Netherlands HQ.

Following the news, Unilever’s London-listed shares fell 0.6%, while the Amsterdam-listed ones were up close to 1%.