An influential shareholder in Anglo-Dutch group Unilever says it will vote against the firm’s plan to move its headquarters to Rotterdam.
Aviva Investors, which reportedly has a 1.4% stake in Unilever, says the move could force shareholders in Britain to sell their shares.
David Cumming, chief investment officer for equities at Aviva Investors told broadcaster ITV: ‘We will be voting against Unilever’s proposal to relinquish its UK domicile in favour of Rotterdam.
‘Unilever’s decision appears to be a defensive response to recent governance challenges and consequently will not create any value for shareholders.’
Unilever has maintained separate headquarters in Rotterdam and London since it was founded in 1930 but has always operated as a single business with a single board of directors.
Now the multinational is consolidating its headquarter operations in Rotterdam to simplify its corporate structure. The move needs 75% of British shareholder support to go ahead. The vote will take place at the end of October.
According to the BBC, under British rules Unilever will no longer be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE 100 index after the move, and shareholders say they fear this could lead to investors offloading their shares.
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