The consumer products giant, Unilever, has changed their stance by giving up on plans to close down London headquarters. This decision has come about owing to the criticism from shareholders out of a move to make their corporate structure simpler. In March, the Company announced that they would, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, their only headquarters. The movement would have an end to the company’s life as a conglomerate with two corporate homes. They have rooted in their formation through the merger of a British soap maker and a Dutch producer of Margarine almost a hundred years ago.
The plan was symbolic as well as a financial blow to Britain. Unilever, which is a British corporate icon and whose products run right from Dove soap to Lipton tea to Marmite, announced plans on leaving for the Continent as Britain was negotiating its breakup with the European Union. Analysts looked at the change of projects as a blow to the Chief Executive of Unilever, Paul Polman. Polman was the one who championed the move as a typical way to make the company even more active and be in a better state to strike mergers. Still, leaving London could have meant that Unilever might get dropped from the FTSE 100 stock index.
Due to that reason, a number of big money managers like Legal & General Investment Management and M&G Investments had criticized the plan publicly. Hence, it left Unilever in an unclear state about whether they could prevail in a shareholder vote on the matter, which is coming up later in the month. On Friday, the company said in a statement that, they recognize the fact that the proposal has not received support from quite a significant group of shareholders and thus consider it to be appropriate for withdrawal. Still, the company believed that the move was a right one. The Chairman of Unilever, Martijn Dekker said through a statement that the board continues to carry the belief that simplification of the company’s dual-headed structure would provide ample opportunities to accelerate the value creation process. He also believed that it would serve the long-term interests of Unilever.
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