The company that produces such diverse things as Marmite, Persil, Cornetto ice cream and Dove soap has decided to make Rotterdam the new home for its legal headquarters.
This decision by Unilever was trailed two days ago by Jonathan Isabel in Brexit Central, who said that this move would of course be used by the Remain camp as proof that Brexit was driving business out of London.
Up until now the company, Unilever, has had joint headquarters in both London and the Netherlands. But as Jonathan Isabel points out there are a range of other considerations that actually drove this decision to move the HQ. Especially legal protection where anti-takeover measures are concerned, given the take-over approach made by Kraft Heinz to Unilever last year.
Isabel explains in his exclusive article:
"I am informed that it is the stronger anti-hostile takeover protection offered in the Netherlands in particular that has dominated the decision to adopt Rotterdam as its sole headquarters. It follows nearly a century of the company being awkwardly jointly-headquartered across London and Rotterdam – following the merger in 1929 of Dutch margarine producer, Margarine Unie, with British soap maker, Lever Brothers – which created a complex legal and accounting structure."
Talking about whether this was a Brexit driven decision, the chief executive of Unilever, Paul Polman, told Radio 4’s Today programme:
"The opposite is true. We would not be investing in our two headquarters here for the two divisions in the UK. We would not have secured the £1 billion spending if that were the case."
The company is also understood to be in negotiations with the London Stock Exchange to remain on the FTSE 100 according to the BBC (See entry at 8:25 here).