Unilever to locate Food & Refreshment division in Rotterdam but maintains UK, Amsterdam and New York listings

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Unilever is aiming to transform into a simpler, more agile and more focused business. The changes will further drive long-term performance and shareholder value, and build upon its Connected 4 Growth programme, the company said.

Unilever is evolving its structure to be based on three divisions: these divisions – Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment – will be more empowered, with greater responsibility for making long-term strategic choices and managing financial performance. All three divisions will continue to benefit from Unilever’s global scale and route to market, the company said.

The headquarters of the Beauty & Personal Care dvision and the Home Care division will be located in London. This secures nearly £1bn per year of continued spend in the UK, including a significant commitment to R&D. The headquarters of the Foods & Refreshment division will continue to be based in Rotterdam. Unilever will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York.

The proposed simplification will provide greater flexibility for strategic portfolio change and help drive long- term performance.

Unilever said the changes also further strengthen its corporate governance, creating, for the first time, a ‘one share, one vote’ principle for all shareholders. Upon completion, the N.V. preference shares will be cancelled, and it is intended to close the N.V. Trust Office and terminate the related depositary receipt structure. Unilever will also continue to apply both the UK and Dutch corporate governance codes.

The company said its employment of 7,300 people in the UK and 3,100 people in the Netherlands will be unaffected by the changes announced today.

Marijn Dekkers, chairman of Unilever, said: “Unilever’s Board is fully committed to delivering long-term performance and sustainable value for shareholders. The Board believes the move to three Divisions and the simplification of our corporate structure will create a simpler, more agile and more focused company with increased strategic flexibility for value-creating portfolio change. Our decision to headquarter the Divisions in the UK and the Netherlands underscores our long-term commitment to both countries. The changes announced today also further strengthen Unilever’s corporate governance, creating for the first time in our history a ‘one share, one vote’ principle for all our shareholders.”