Sep 16, 2018

Big Unilever shareholder to fight headquarters shift

A big UK shareholder in Unilever has warned it plans to vote against the consumer goods group's proposal to move its headquarters to the Netherlands in a sign of growing unrest among British investors. In separate votes next month, Unilever must convince 75 per cent of UK shareholders for the proposal to pass, as well as 50 per cent of Dutch investors. David Cumming, chief investment officer for equities at Aviva Investors and one of the most influential figures among UK institutional shareholders, said Unilever will not be a British company if the proposed move goes ahead, which will result in some investment funds becoming forced sellers of the shares. The shareholder base is fragmented, with large numbers of investors holding small amounts of Unilever's UK shares. "For all of our UK clients, whether invested in our UK or global strategies, the proposal to redomicile Unilever to the Netherlands introduces a new risk that they have not previously faced," Mr Train said.

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