Unilever is shifting some UK-based jobs to the Netherlands as part of a plan to establish a new global headquarters for brands including Magnum ice cream and PG Tips.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant, which had a £115bn takeover bid from Kraft Heinz earlier in 2017, has started a consultation with approximately 140 of its UK workers regarding the relocation of their roles.
The jobs signaled represent a small fraction of the British workforce of Unilever of more than 7000. However, the news will nevertheless attract interest because of the extent to which issues including job security were raised during the brief interest of Kraft Heinz in a deal.
Sources that are close to the FTSE-100 company pointed out that the combination of its refreshment and food units had been announced in April when it laid out plans to improve profitability and returns to its shareholders.
While it had signalled its plan to base the newly merged unit in Rotterdam, Unilever has not publicly revealed plans to relocate more than 100 jobs from the United Kingdom.
Sources said that the decision is unrelated to Brexit. However, it was said that it is being driven by the desire of Paul Polman, its chief executive, to accelerate efforts to make the business of Unilever more efficient.
The headquarters of the home and personal care business of the company, which includes Lynx and Persil, will remain in the United Kingdom.
The food and refreshments merger, which aims to unite brands such as Lipton tea and Marmite under one management team, comes as Unilever operates a £6bn auction of its international spreads business.
A number of private equity consortia are said to present offers later this month.
One pairing, of Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, has lined up a former Unilever executive, Matthew Hill, to work on its offer.
Unilever refused to comment on the Rotterdam jobs relocation on Tuesday.