Unilever Seeks To Clarify 'Simplification' Process

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Unilever Seeks To Clarify 'Simplification' Process

Following the announcement last week that Legal & General Investment Management, a shareholder in Unilever, intends to vote against the company's 'simplification' plan, the company has taken steps to clarify some of the points therein.

Noting that some shareholders have 'sought confirmation regarding a number of governance matters', Unilever has issued a statement outlining the future strategy for the New Unilever NV business, around four administrative sticking points.


Firstly, on the question of preference shares and ADSs, the company said that it is the board's intention to 'cancel the NV preference shares acquired earlier this year', and that these will not be voted on as part of the forthcoming EGM, or at any subsequent shareholder meetings.

Elsewhere, it said that it plans to close its existing Trust Office, as well as 'terminate' its existing Depositary Receipt structure.

It also sought to clarify the purported introduction of a 250 day 'time-out period' into Dutch law, saying atet eh Unilever board does not intend to 'invoke such a time-out period now or in the future'.


Lastly, the FMCG giant sought to clarify its position relating to the re-election of board members.

'A 3% shareholding in New Unilever NV will be able to call a shareholder meeting (within 8 weeks) and a 1% shareholding in New Unilever NV will be able to table a resolution at shareholder meetings, including to propose a change in the directors or to the articles of association,' it said.

Charm Offensive

In late September, top Unilever executives including chairman Marijn Dekkers and CFO Graeme Pitkethly appeared on UK media seeking to clarify its reasons for the move, and also to fend off shareholder criticism.

As well as Legal & General Investment Management, Aviva Investors has also indicated that it plans to vote against the simplification move at meetings due to take place later this month.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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