Consumer goods giant Unilever plans to merge its dual-headed legal structure under a single Britain-based parent company to give it more flexibility during mergers and acquisitions and reduce business complexity.
The move unwinds a structure in place since 1930 and comes nearly two years after Unilever scrapped plans to move the company headquarters to the Netherlands in the face of a shareholder revolt.
The formation of the Britain-based parent, Unilever Plc, will be achieved through a cross-border merger between Unilever Plc and Unilever NV, with shareholders of Unilever NV getting one share of Unilever Plc in exchange for each share held.
The Anglo-Dutch company currently operates under two separate legal identities - Unilever NV in the Netherlands and Unilever Plc in London - though both effectively work as a single economic entity.
The company said the merger will not impact its listing of Unilever NV on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange or of Unilever Plc on the London Stock Exchange, and that the company remained committed to the Netherlands.
The unification will result in no change to the operations, locations, activities or staffing levels in either the United Kingdom or the Netherlands.
“Unilever’s Board believes that unifying the company’s legal structure will create greater strategic flexibility, remove complexity and further improve governance," commented Nils Andersen, Unilever chairman.
"We remain committed to The Netherlands and the UK and there will be no change to Unilever’s footprint in either country as a result of the proposed change to Unilever’s legal parent structure. We are confident that unification will help Unilever deliver its vision of driving superior long-term performance through its multiple stakeholder business model.”