Unilever chooses Rotterdam as its global HQ

Unilever has announced it will merge its European headquarters in Rotterdam. The consumer giant has said it will relocate a currently unspecified number of staff from London to Rotterdam.

Unilever HQ in Rotterdam
After a year-long review, the Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever has opted to establish it’s unified corporate headquarters in Rotterdam, rather than London.

Unilever concentrates operations in Rotterdam

After operating dual HQs in the two cities for more than 80 years, the company said it was moving to a single legal entity in the Netherlands in an effort to become “more agile”.In a statement, the company said, “The proposed simplification will provide greater flexibility for strategic portfolio change and help drive long-term performance.”Graeme Pitkethly, Unilever’s chief financial officer, insisted Brexit “was absolutely not a factor” in the decision. “We chose the Netherlands because pretty simply, at the end of the day, the Dutch company is quite a bit bigger than the UK,” he said, explaining that the Netherlands entity represented about 55 per cent of the combined share capital and traded with greater liquidity than the British company.

Corporate relocations to take place from London to Rotterdam

Despite the reorganisation, none of the company’s 7,300 UK-based staff and 3,100 in the Netherlands will lose their jobs, although there will be an unspecified number of staff relocations from London to Rotterdam.Despite Unilever’s denial that the decision had been affected by Brexit, Rajesh Agrawal, London’s deputy mayor for business, said it showed the importance of keeping close ties with the European Union.“Unilever’s decision to move its headquarters to the Netherlands is clearly disappointing news for the capital,” he said.“It brings into sharp focus the need for the government to secure a Brexit deal that secures London as Europe’s leading business centre. The best way to do this is for London and the UK to remain part of the Single Market and Customs Union.”
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Unilever undergo internal reorganisation

Unilever, which makes products from Persil to Marmite, Dove soap to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, also announced it was reorganising its business into three divisions – beauty and personal care; home care; and foods and refreshment – with the first two headquartered in London and the third remaining in Rotterdam.Chairman Marijn Dekkers said, “Our decision to headquarter the divisions in the UK and the Netherlands underscores our long-term commitment to both countries.“The changes announced today also further strengthen Unilever’s corporate governance, creating for the first time in our history a ‘one share, one vote’ principle for all our shareholders.” A government spokesman in London said, “Unilever has today shown its long-term commitment to the UK by choosing to locate its two fastest-growing global business divisions in this country, safeguarding 7,300 jobs and £1 billion a year of investment.“As the company itself has made clear, its decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to the UK’s departure from the EU.”In recent months, speculation had grown that Unilever would plump for the Netherlands after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, himself a former Unilever executive, proposed tax changes that would benefit Anglo-Dutch multinationals. 
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