October 2, 2018 / 1:54 PM / 7 months ago

Another top-10 Unilever shareholder to vote against Dutch shift

FILE PHOTO: The Unilever building is seen in London, Britain March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Columbia Threadneedle Investments said on Tuesday it would vote against Unilever’s (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) proposed move to the Netherlands, joining a chorus of shareholder disapproval.

Unilever plans to end its dual-headed Anglo-Dutch structure and rebase in the Netherlands as a single entity. It has said the move will make it more efficient, improve corporate governance and make it easier to use equity in big acquisitions.

But a handful of large institutional investors oppose the move. Their two main concerns relate to the forced selling of Unilever shares by some British investors because Unilever will drop out of the benchmark FTSE 100 index and the future tax treatment of Dutch dividends.

“We believe the Unilever restructuring is detrimental to UK Plc shareholders and we will be voting against the proposed resolution at the Unilever EGM on 26 October 2018,” Iain Richards, head of responsible investment at Columbia Threadneedle said in a statement.

The asset manager previously criticised the move but had not specified which way it planned to vote.

Columbia Threadneedle is Unilever’s seventh-largest shareholder with an 1.18 percent stake, according to Refinitiv data.

Schroder Investment Management, the 20th-largest shareholder in Unilever, said this week it would vote against the move.

Reporting by Martinne Geller and Simon Jessop; Editing by Edmund Blair

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