Unilever wins investors’ approval for UK move
UNILEVER’S Dutch shareholders have overwhelmingly backed proposals to shift the consumer goods titan’s legal base to London, defying politicians in The Hague who had threatened a revenge tax raid.
More than 99pc of votes cast at an online meeting were in favour of a unification plan in which Marmite maker Unilever will abandon its Anglo-Dutch structure after 90 years and be based solely in Britain.
The firm still needs approval from British investors, who are expected to wave through the scheme in
their own ballot on Oct 12. Bosses are pushing ahead with the move despite proposals from the Netherlands’ opposition GreenLeft (GroenLinks) party for an “exit tax” that would cost the group €11bn (£10.1bn).
The tax would hit businesses with annual revenues of more than €750m that move abroad. It has been modified since the plans were first launched so that shareholders, rather than Unilever, would be subject to the tax bill.
Unilever has indicated the tax would violate international law, and it has triggered widespread claims of protectionism.
However, Alan Jope, the firm’s chief executive, admitted that Unilever could cancel the merger up to the moment of a High Court approval hearing if the law were passed.
Unilever says the change will make it easier to carry out acquisitions or demergers, including a potential sale of its tea business, which makes PG Tips.