Alongside announcing that it is looking to sell its margarine business that includes the Flora and Stork brands, Unilever has stated that its dual-listing structure is under review.
Listed in the UK and the Netherlands, the company last reviewed its status in 2005, concluding that there would be tax consequences for investors and the company if it moved to a single listing.
Unilever has always acknowledged that its structure affects its flexibility, e.g. making it more difficult to undertake share buy-backs and raise money for acquisitions.
It would seem that the recent Kraft Heinz takeover bid, seen off by the board, has focussed management attention on the potential advantages of a simplified structure, not least in addressing shareholder pressure for change.
“Mr Polman said Unilever was studying whether to change its status and was looking at the wider “legal structure” of having bases in both the UK and the Netherlands. It will decide by the end of the year.”