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By Adam Clark
Unilever PLC (ULVR.LN) has decided to withdraw its proposal to consolidate its dual structure, after the Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods company faced mounting opposition from U.K. shareholders worried over its likely eviction from the FTSE 100.
The maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream said Friday that it won't press ahead with plans to simplify its dual-headed legal structure, having previously proposed establishing a single headquarters in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
"We have had an extensive period of engagement with shareholders and have received widespread support for the principle behind simplification. However, we recognise that the proposal has not received support from a significant group of shareholders and therefore consider it appropriate to withdraw," Unilever said.
A number of institutional shareholders in the U.K., including M&G Investments, Royal London Asset Management and Columbia Threadneedle, had publicly said they intended to vote against the change, which was set to force Unilever out of the U.K.'s blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
The proposal would have needed 75% support from British shareholders and 50% support from Dutch shareholders.
"The board continues to believe that simplifying our dual-headed structure would, over time, provide opportunities to further accelerate value-creation and serve the best long-term interests of Unilever," Chairman Marijn Dekkers said.
The simplification proposal came after a monthslong review sparked by an unwelcomed, $143-billion takeover bid from Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) early last year.
Unilever said its board will consider its next steps and continue to engage with shareholders. It also said it will proceed with its plan to cancel its Dutch preference shares.
Write to Adam Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org; @AdamDowJones
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 05, 2018 02:49 ET (06:49 GMT)
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