Unilever completes unification after court approval

Consumer goods giant Unilever has completed the unification of its Dutch and UK arms and moved its legal base to London.

The FTSE 100 firm, which makes brands including Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s and Dove, told shareholders that the move has been completed after it called for the High Court to approve unification earlier this month.

It means the group will abandon the dual-headed structure it has operated with for almost a century, when it formed out of the merger of a Dutch margarine brand and UK soap company.

In 2018, Unilever was forced into an embarrassing U-turn on a previous proposal to switch its HQ from London to Rotterdam following widespread shareholder anger.

The group’s former chief executive, Paul Polman, and previous chairman, Marijn Dekkers, both quit soon after the botched plan.

Unilever announced its plan to scrap its structure in favour of a single London legal headquarters in June.

At the time of the announcement, it said that its “strong presence in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will remain unchanged”.

On Monday, the group said there will be “no change to the operations, locations, activities or staffing levels” in the UK or Netherlands as a result of the move.

Nils Andersen, chairman of Unilever, said: “This is an important day for Unilever and we would like to thank our shareholders for their strong support of our unification proposals, which give us greater flexibility for strategic portfolio change, remove complexity and further improve governance.”

Shares in the company were 0.3% higher at 4,601p in early trading.