Another top Unilever shareholder says it will vote against Dutch move

 
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Marmite maker Unilever has faced a backlash from a number of shareholders over its decision to move its HQ from London to the Netherlands (Source: Getty)

Another top shareholder of consumer giant Unilever has said it will vote down the company's plans to relocate its headquarters to the Netherlands.


Asset management firm Schroders joined a growing list of investors who have vowed to reject Unilever's plan.

In September, Aviva said the same thing, while top 10 shareholder Legal & General Investment Management last Friday said it would also oppose the move.

The firm needs 75 per cent of London-based investors to accept the move away from the Square Mile at a crunch vote on 26 October.

Read more: L&G joins shareholders who will vote against Unilever leaving London


"We understand the company’s desire for simplification but we do not believe this is the right decision for Unilever shareholders," Schroders global head of stewardship Jessica Ground said.

"Unilever is opting for a single listing in the Dutch market; we have previously expressed our concerns about the moves in the Netherlands towards protectionism, which undermines shareholder rights.

"In addition, our clients will be forced sellers of Unilever as a result of it exiting the FTSE UK Indices."

The maker of Marmite and Dove soap wants to make the move to simplify its corporate structure. But its plan to switch from two classes of shares to one have angered institutional shareholders.

Investors are concerned Unilever will be booted out the FTSE 100 if it moves its base to the Netherlands, meaning passive funds that track FTSE indices would be forced to sell.

Last week, Graeme Pitkethly, Unilever’s chief financial officer defended the move, saying: “It’s got great benefits for all shareholders” who will benefit from “a stronger and a simpler Unilever”.

Read more: Unilever hits back over City fury at Dutch move

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