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    The Belgian flag flying at half-mast is pictured at the Hofplein in Rotterdam, on March 23, 2016.

    Unilever Scraps Plans to Move Operations to Rotterdam HQ, Cites Shareholders

    © AFP 2018 / Lex van Lieshout
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    One of Britain's leading fast-moving consumer goods corporations has scrapped plans to ‘simplify' its operations between London and Rotterdam offices amid protests from some of its investors.

    Unilever announced plans in March to consolidate its headquarters to Rotterdam, but investors warned that British shareholders could sell off shares in response. 

    UK regulations would have prevented the company from trading on the FTSE had the proposals been approved, sparking concerns of share sell-offs from some investors. 

    The company stated that proposals to simplify Unilever's dual-headed legal structure initially received widespread support, but a significant group of shareholders protested it, causing the withdrawal. 

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    "The Unilever Board has today decided to withdraw its proposal to simplify Unilever's dual-headed legal structure," a Unilever spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the board wanted a "stronger, simpler and more competitive Unilever" for its shareholders' long-term success.  

    "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," Unilever chairman Marijn Dekkers said. 

    Dekkers also said that Board members will consider the next steps and would continue to engage with shareholders, adding that the company will proceed with plans to cancel its NV preference shares to strengthen corporate governance.  

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    Some Twittizens responded to the decision by tweeting their two cents to followers, manning both sides of the Brexit argument.  

    Kevin Maguire, Associate editor for Daily Mirror, tweeted that Unilever's decision had nothing to do with Brexit and was more concerned about protecting the company from "financial raiders".  

    London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted his elation about Unilever's decision while taking the chance to criticise the UK government's ‘appalling' mishandling of Brexit negotiations.  

    Unilever is the merger of Dutch margarine company Unie and British soap makers Lever Brothers, which formed a dual-headed company structure in 1930. The company produces diverse products such as Pot Noodle, Knorr seasonings, Axe, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, among others, and is one of Britain's biggest FTSE 100 index firms worth £124 billion.

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    Tags:
    FMCG, Hygiene, food, Brexit, Unilever, Rotterdam, United Kingdom, Netherlands, London
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