TOP NEWS: Unilever Will Go Ahead With Unification Despite Dutch Bill

(Alliance News) - Unilever PLC on Tuesday said it plans to proceeds with its unification ...

Alliance News 27 October, 2020 | 3:48PM
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(Alliance News) - Unilever PLC on Tuesday said it plans to proceeds with its unification proposals and requested UK high court approval for its cross-order merger despite Dutch exit tax concerns.

On Thursday last week, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company warned that its planned unification under a single UK entity remained threatened by a Dutch bill that would impose an exit tax and argued the Dutch bill in its current form would infringe several tax treaties.

The Dove soap maker had previously claimed that if the bill - which was tabled by Dutch opposition party GroenLinks and could result in a hefty EUR11 billion exit tax charge - were passed then the unification would not be in Unilever's best interests.

In its most recent update, Unilever said: "In deciding whether to proceed, the boards have considered many factors, including the GroenLinks initiative bill, tabled on 9 October 2020, and the related legal advice. It is unclear when, or indeed if at all, the bill will be enacted, or in what form.

"The boards have received legal advice that an exit tax assessment issued to either Unilever NV or Unilever PLC based on the current bill should be annulled on the grounds that it infringes the Dutch UK Tax Treaty, other Dutch tax treaties with states in which shareholders reside, primary and secondary EU law and the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights."

Unilever said unification was in the firm's interests, as well as the best interests of shareholders and stakeholders, since it increases the firm's strategic flexibility to evolve its portfolio as well as "removing complexity and further strengthening Unilever's corporate governance".

The company stresses that unification as Unilever PLC presents "the best practical option" for achieving these objectives.

A court hearing to approve the cross-border merger is scheduled for Monday next week.

Unilever in 2018 had tried to move the company's corporate base to Rotterdam from London but faced significant opposition from UK-based shareholders and eventually had to abandon the plans.

Shares in Unilever were up 0.4% at 4,666.00 pence in London on Tuesday afternoon.

By Anna Farley; annafarley@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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