Unilever axes move from London to Rotterdam

Unilever had originally unveiled the planned headquarters switch to Rotterdam, above, in March in a symbolic decision that was largely interpreted by analysts as a blow to post-Brexit Britain. (Reuters)
Updated 05 October 2018
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Unilever axes move from London to Rotterdam

LONDON: Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever on Friday axed its post-Brexit plan to move its main headquarters from London to Rotterdam amid shareholder unease.
The group, which makes famous brands like yeast extract Marmite, PG Tips tea, Persil washing powder and Magnum ice cream, said it was withdrawing a proposal that would have seen its corporate base move to the Netherlands.
“The Unilever board has today decided to withdraw its proposal to simplify Unilever’s dual-headed legal structure,” the company said in a statement.
The group had originally unveiled the planned switch in March in a symbolic decision that was largely interpreted by analysts as a blow to post-Brexit Britain.
A Unilever spokeswoman confirmed it would no longer seek to relocate away from the British capital.
“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 statement added.
“We have had an extensive period of engagement with shareholders and have received widespread support for the principle behind simplification.
“However, we recognize that the proposal has not received support from a significant group of shareholders and therefore consider it appropriate to withdraw.”
Unilever had in recent weeks faced mounting opposition from key shareholders, including Royal London, Columbia Threadneedle, Legal & General Investment Management, Aviva Investors, Lindsell Train, M&G Investments and Brewin Dolphin.
However, chairman Marijn Dekkers insisted on Friday that the board continued to believe simplifying Unilever’s structure remains in the firm’s best interests.
“Unilever has built a long track record of consistent and competitive performance,” Dekkers said.
“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.”


Samsung may gain from Huawei’s plight in ongoing trade war: Fitch

Updated 7 min 42 sec ago
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Samsung may gain from Huawei’s plight in ongoing trade war: Fitch

  • The loss of access to Google’s android system may hurt the smartphone sales of Huawei outside China
  • The ratings agency also added that iPhone maker Apple could be another casualty of the trade tensions

Samsung may have a chance to strengthen its position in the smartphone market due to the hurt caused to Huawei Technologies in the wake of US-China trade tensions, according to Fitch Ratings.
Tech companies, including Google and SoftBank Group-owned chip designer ARM, have said they will cease supplies and updates to Huawei.
The loss of access to Google’s android system may hurt the smartphone sales of the Chinese technology company outside China, thereby giving Samsung a chance to improve its market share, Fitch Ratings said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the US government hit Huawei with severe sanctions as the US Commerce Department blocked the Chinese company from buying American goods amid its escalating trade spat with China.
The ratings agency also added that iPhone maker Apple could be another casualty of the trade tensions between Beijing and Washington, which would accelerate its market share loss in China.