Unilever backtracks on plans to leave the UK

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Unilever has withdrawn its proposal to move out of the UK in favour of a single headquarters in the Netherlands due to a lack of support from shareholders.

Last month the consumer goods company revealed that it was planning to simplify its dual-headed legal structure, and while the majority of shareholders backed the idea of simplification, a “significant group” did not support the strategy to do so.

“We have had an extensive period of engagement with shareholders and have received widespread support for the principle behind simplification. However, we recognise that the proposal has not received support from a significant group of shareholders and therefore consider it appropriate to withdraw,” Unilever said in a statement.

The company plans to work on a new strategy to create “a stronger, simpler and more competitive Unilever that is better positioned for long-term success”.

Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers said that the Board will work together with shareholders on a new plan.

“Unilever has built a long track record of consistent and competitive performance. The Board continues to believe that simplifying our dual-headed structure would, over time, provide opportunities to further accelerate value creation and serve the best long-term interests of Unilever,” he said.

“The Board will now consider its next steps and will continue to engage with our shareholders. We will proceed with the plan to cancel the NV preference shares, further strengthening our corporate governance,” Dekkers added.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that Unilever’s decision to remain in the UK was “great news”.

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