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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Unilever PLC    ULVR   GB00B10RZP78

UNILEVER PLC

(ULVR)
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Unilever's Dutch shareholders vote on unification, HQ move

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09/18/2020 | 07:38am EDT

* Unilever NV shareholder vote to be revealed Monday

* Unilever PLC shareholders vote to follow on Oct. 12

* Shareholders seen backing the plan to simplify M&A

* Dutch lawmakers, Brexit could still pose problems

AMSTERDAM, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Shareholders of Unilever NV in the Netherlands are expected to back plans to unify the consumer goods giant under a single parent company based in London and end 90 years as an Anglo-Dutch hybrid.

The result of an online vote will be released on Monday during an extraordinary shareholders' meeting streamed online due to the coronavirus, with investors in British Unilever Plc due to vote on Oct. 12. If approved by both sides, Unilever hopes to unify on Nov. 22.

The maker of Dove soap, Surf detergent and Ben & Jerry's ice cream has argued that the dual national structure hampers its ability to conduct acquisitions and disposals quickly, such as the planned sale of its three-billion euro tea business.

"My guess is that [the vote] will pass and it will give Unilever a simpler organisational structure, making it easier for effective management actions to take place," said Steve Clayton, UK fund manager of the Hargreaves Lansdown Select Fund range, whose UK Income fund has a 6.2 percent weighting in Unilever.

Unilever began its push to restructure under previous management after a failed $143 billion takeover approach by Kraft Heinz in February 2017.

Tax and political considerations thwarted its first attempt to unify in Rotterdam in 2018, with concerns about a 15% Dutch dividend withholding tax and forced selling by some UK shareholders once Unilever was dropped from Britain's FTSE 100.

Now, Britain's departure from the European Union gives some extra urgency, as a delay beyond this year could mean that the marriage of the company's two arms could face additional scrutiny from EU and British regulators as a cross-border merger.

"We are definitely in favour of the reunification. The situation has been running on for far too long and has presented an unnecessary distraction," said Freddie Lait, chief investment officer of Latitude Investment management. "It makes complete sense ... and it should not be controversial."

Glass Lewis, an independent share advisory group, recommends voting for unification.

The British government has also cheered the plan. Dutch politicians are less enthusiastic.

In 2018, Prime Minister Mark Rutte tried unsuccessfully to scrap the 15% tax on dividends. The cut was intended to keep Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands, but became seen as a gift to rich foreign investors.

Dutch politicians also do not want their country missing out on collecting some 300 million euros ($355 million) annual tax from Unilever, leading an opposition party to propose an "Exit Tax".

Unilever says that idea violates European law, but if enacted as proposed, it would cost the company 11 billion euros -- enough to derail unification once again.

"If it doesn't happen, the last hundred years or so suggests that Unilever will continue to thrive, all around the globe," said Hargreaves Lansdown's Clayton. ($1 = 0.8440 euros)

(Reporting by Martinne Geller;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CLASS III MILK FUTURES (DC) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 21.59 End-of-day quote.11.75%
CLASS IV MILK?FUTURES (GDK) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -1.10% 13.52 End-of-day quote.-19.48%
DRY WHEY?FUTURES (DY) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.07% 34.425 End-of-day quote.4.55%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) -0.43% 0.89922 Delayed Quote.6.81%
HARGREAVES LANSDOWN PLC -0.44% 1352.5 Delayed Quote.-30.10%
NONFAT DRY MILK FUTURES (GNF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 106.875 End-of-day quote.-11.93%
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC 3.89% 10.884 Delayed Quote.-58.40%
THE KRAFT HEINZ COMPANY 1.83% 30.59 Delayed Quote.-4.79%
UNILEVER N.V. -1.02% 48.55 Delayed Quote.-5.23%
UNILEVER PLC -1.32% 4404 Delayed Quote.1.23%
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Sales 2020 51 075 M 59 512 M 59 512 M
Net income 2020 6 019 M 7 013 M 7 013 M
Net Debt 2020 22 609 M 26 343 M 26 343 M
P/E ratio 2020 22,0x
Yield 2020 3,29%
Capitalization 129 B 150 B 150 B
EV / Sales 2020 2,96x
EV / Sales 2021 2,90x
Nbr of Employees 149 867
Free-Float 55,7%
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Number of Analysts 25
Average target price 54,12 €
Last Close Price 49,05 €
Spread / Highest target 28,4%
Spread / Average Target 10,3%
Spread / Lowest Target -18,5%
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NameTitle
Alan Jope Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Nils Smedegaard Andersen Chairman
Nitin Paranjpe Chief Operating Officer
Graeme David Pitkethly Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Richard Slater Chief Research & Development Officer
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