Government Braces for Unilever Choosing Netherlands Over the UK

By Judgefloro [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Unilever is anticipated to decide on where the company will establish its headquarters within the coming weeks, with the Government preparing for the Dove maker to choose the Netherlands over the United Kingdom.

Earlier this month, Paul Polman, the boss of Unilever, said that the group was likely to finish its review into where to establish its legal base by the end of the first quarter.

It is thought that a decision is likely to arrive during the second week of next month, during the next scheduled board meeting. However, no decision has yet been taken.

The said review into where to house the legal base of Unilever has been highly politicised, with both the United Kingdom and the Dutch government wading in to attempt to win over the manufacturer.

In 2017, Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, staged a play for the business, offering to decrease the corporation tax and eliminate a tax on dividends.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom confirmed that the department was “in regular contact with Unilever and we will continue to work with them during this process.”

The department said that it was working with firms to build an “environment where businesses can thrive.” The company exports approximately a third of the products that it produces in the United Kingdom, which is equal to about €1bn (£875m), and discussions with the Government are also believed to centre around trade borders.

According to The Financial Times, even though talks are continuing with both sides, the Government is bracing for Unilever to choose Rotterdam over London.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed official from Britain as stating: “It wouldn’t be a great surprise if it happened.”

Relocating its main base to the Netherlands would mean simplifying its structure since it would not have to be registered or hold shareholder meetings in two countries.