Unilever Delays Decision On UK Or Dutch Base
Consumer-goods giant Unilever is delaying a decision on whether to base its headquarters in the UK or the Netherlands, as part of a new corporate structure.
The company's chief executive, Paul Polman, told the Financial Times that the board is likely to abandon its dual structure — involving two parent companies, two headquarters, and two stock-market listings.
Last month, it was also reported that the Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods giant could be shifting UK jobs to Rotterdam, as part of a plan to create a new global headquarters there for brands such as PG Tips tea and Magnum ice cream.
However, in a statement released today, Unilever says that it envisages 'one lean, agile corporate centre', but no decisions have been made yet, and a review by the board is continuing.
“I’m advocating to postpone decisions because it’s a moving playing field – with political turbulence out there," Polman said. "The emotions of the moment are really the issue.”
Whatever the outcome of this review, the group's board says that it intends to maintain listings in the Netherlands, the UK and the US.
Unilever also said today that its outlook for 2017 is reconfirmed, and the company is expecting underlying sales growth within the 3-5% range, with an improvement in underlying operating margin of at least 100 basis points.
The group is continuing to expand its portfolio, and so far this year, nine acquisitions have been completed or announced.
Meanwhile, the company has also continued to simplify its capital structure, including the acquisition of the outstanding Unilever NV preference shares.
The company wrote that these developments are in the best interests of shareholders, providing 'greater ongoing strategic flexibility for value-creating portfolio change'.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.