Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has successfully completed the merger of its Dutch and British corporate entities, establishing itself as a wholly British company. Under the new entity, Unilever PLC, the company will be headquartered in London and aims to enhance its ability to respond to economic challenges, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these changes, Unilever assures that its operations, locations, activities, and staffing levels will remain unaffected.

The completion of the unification process marks a significant milestone for Unilever. The company now trades with a unified market capitalization, a single class of shares, and a global pool of liquidity, while maintaining listings on the Amsterdam, London, and New York stock exchanges. Shareholders overwhelmingly supported the merger after it was unveiled in June, leading to the dissolution of Unilever NV, the Dutch corporate entity.

Nils Andersen, Unilever Chairman, expresses gratitude to shareholders for their strong support and emphasizes the benefits of the unification. He believes that this move provides greater flexibility for strategic portfolio changes, simplifies the company’s structure, and improves governance. The company’s food and refreshments division will remain based in Rotterdam, while the home care and beauty and personal care units will be headquartered in Britain.

Unilever, which is known for popular brands like Dove Soap and Magnum ice cream, had operated under a dual-headed structure since its establishment in 1930. In 2018, it attempted to relocate its corporate base from London to Rotterdam but faced opposition from British shareholders, leading to a reevaluation of its plans.

Equities analyst Sophie Lund-Yates believes that the merger will facilitate operational streamlining in the face of uncertainties caused by COVID-19 and Brexit. Lund-Yates sees the single listing as a way for Unilever to more efficiently manage its portfolio and views it as part of a long-term strategy to rejuvenate the company rather than a purely political move.

Useful Links:
1. Unilever Official Website
2. BBC News Article: Unilever completes UK merger, scrapping Dutch holding company