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Unilever goes Dutch for HQ as London loses out

Unilever goes Dutch for HQ as London loses out
From BBC - March 15, 2018

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever, maker of Marmite and Dove soap, has chosen Rotterdam over London for its headquarters.

The company said it would move to a single legal entity in the Netherlands in an effort to become "more agile".

Unilever's dual-headed structure has existed since 1930, when Dutch margarine firm Unie merged with British soap maker Lever Brothers.

The company said the decision over its HQ was "not about Brexit".

At the same time, Unilever -which also makes Pot Noodle and Ben & Jerry's ice cream - said it would be reorganising its business into three divisions: beauty and personal care, home care, and foods and refreshment.

The first two divisions will have their headquarters in London, while the third will continue to be based in Rotterdam.

The company employs 7,300 people in the UK and 3,100 in the Netherlands. No jobs will be lost by the move.

Unilever is one of the largest companies in the UK's FTSE 100 share index, but may not be eligible for the index after the change.

A government spokesperson said: "Unilever has today shown its long-term commitment to the UK by choosing to locate its two fastest-growing global business divisions in this country, safeguarding 7,300 jobs and 1bn a year of investment.

"As the company itself has made clear, its decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to the UK's departure from the EU."

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman told the BBC's Today programme that the move to a single legal entity was being made for "technical reasons", as the bulk of its shares - 55% - were traded in the Netherlands.

"This is not about Brexit," he said, adding that "both countries are attractive from an investment point of view".

Tax change

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