Unilever’s plans for relocation of the head office from London to Rotterdam have been cancelled. The resistance of British shareholders in particular has been decisive.
The plans for a move from London to Rotterdam plays against the background of the political discussion about the abolishing of dividend tax. According to Prime Minister Rutte, the purpose of this measure is to keep large companies in the Netherlands or to ensure that they come here. There is fierce opposition to the abolition in the House of Representatives.
Various opposition parties in the House of Representatives want to debate Prime Minister Rutte’s decision on the abolition of dividend tax following the decision of Unilever to stay in London.
British consideration about keeping Unilever British
Economics editor André Meinema does not think that the dividend tax or its abolition was decisive for the British shareholders. “The British say: we do not want a British-Dutch company to be completely Dutch,” he said in the NOS Radio 1 News.
The fact that Unilever wouldn’t be in the British stock market index FTSE-100 with the move also played a role according to Meinema. Index investors would therefore necessarily have to sell their shares.
“To their surprise, they have discovered that the British do not like it at all,” Meinema said.
Unilever says that there has been extensive contact with the shareholders and that there was support for the new Dutch move, but not enough. The board of directors of Unilever is now considering the next steps. The shareholders’ meetings for the British and Dutch shareholders at the end of October will be canceled.
No extra jobs for the Netherlands
With the relocation of the head office to the Netherlands, probably dozens of jobs would be moved from London to Rotterdam, but that is not happening now. In addition, a move would have been good for the relationship with customers, research institutes and the Dutch trade unions.
Let’s see what will happen with the dividend tax now, Rutte will be under even heavier pressure to cancel his plans.