In Brief

Unilever moves headquarters from London to Rotterdam

Marmite maker insists decision to quit UK after almost 90 years is not linked to Brexit

Unilever has announced that it has picked Rotterdam over London as its main base - a move that deals a “sharp blow to Britain’s status as a European business hub ahead of Brexit”, according to commentators.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, maker of brands including Marmite, Dove and Persil, has been jointly based in London and Rotterdam since it was founded 88 years ago, says The Independent. The company has annual UK sales worth around £1.8bn.

Unilever’s chief financial officer, Graeme Pitkethly, insisted Brexit “was absolutely not a factor” in the decision, which was announced after a year-long review.

The group says it will be simplifying its structure into a single legal entity incorporated in the Netherlands, allowing the company to be a “simpler, more agile and more focused business”.

Its shares will continue to be listed in London, Amsterdam and New York, The Guardian reports. The firm will also keeps its building at Blackfriars, London, to act as the hub of its beauty and home divisions.

Unilever says the jobs of its 7,300 employees in the UK, and 3,100 in the Netherlands, will not be at risk, although some workers may be asked to relocate from London to Rotterdam.

A UK government spokesperson attempted to play down the significance of the move, saying Unilever’s “decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to the UK's departure from the EU”.

But according to the Sky News website: “The shift abroad will be seen as a major blow to the Government as it tries to calm nerves in the business community about Britain’s decision to leave the EU.”

Recommended

Budget predictions: what’s Rishi Sunak got in store?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak poses with the Budget Box outside 11 Downing Street
Today’s big question

Budget predictions: what’s Rishi Sunak got in store?

Who is Frances Haugen? Facebook product manager turned whistle-blower
Frances Haugen
Profile

Who is Frances Haugen? Facebook product manager turned whistle-blower

Everything we know so far about the Sudan military coup
Protestors block a road in the Sudanese capital city Khartoum
Global lens

Everything we know so far about the Sudan military coup

Charles Manson fans get his ashes tattooed onto their legs
Charles Manson
Tall Tales

Charles Manson fans get his ashes tattooed onto their legs

Popular articles

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined
Boy receiving Covid vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined

What is blackfishing?
Shot of Jesy Nelson with her hair in braids
In Depth

What is blackfishing?

Insulate Britain: what do they want?
Insulate Britain protesters
Profile

Insulate Britain: what do they want?

The Week Footer Banner