The Share Centre feels victorious as Unilever caves to shareholder rights pressure

Over the past few weeks Gavin Oldham OBE, Chairman of The Share Centre, has been calling on the government and the industry to do more for personal investors holding Unilever after it was revealed that the consumer goods giant was planning to deny them their rights in the impending vote to move its headquarters.

Speaking on the result today, he said:

“We’re delighted to hear the news this morning that Unilever has dropped its proposal to move its primary listing to the Netherlands. This is in no small part due to the widespread opposition of personal shareowners, whose views were particularly important due to the “member count” vote.

“The Share Centre led a spirited campaign to ensure that the rights of nominee share owners, enshrined in part 9 of the companies act 2006, were not denied in this crucial vote, and was prepared to back legal action if Unilever had not backed down.

“I am delighted with Unilever’s decision, but the company’s denial of shareholder rights cannot now be overlooked. I have therefore asked the London Stock Exchange and our trade association PIMFA to seek clarification from the Confederation of British Industry that listed companies will in future be expected to comply with this vital part of company law, which provides shareholder rights to the huge number of nominee-based personal share owners in the United Kingdom.”

Market welcomes Unilever’s change of heart as shares rise

  • Pressures came from many fronts including the fact Unilever would have fallen out of the FTSE 100 leaving fund and active managers being forced sellers
  • Investors brush aside potential cost savings that would have come with relocation
  • The Share Centre recommends Unilever as a ‘buy’ for medium risk investors
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