Unilever withdraws proposal to move to Netherlands

Unilever Global CEO Paul Polman.

Unilever on Friday said its board had withdrawn its proposal to move to the Netherlands, after a growing tide of opposition by U.K.shareholders.

The company decided to collapse its Anglo-Dutch structure following a deep business review sparked by last year’s failed $143 billion takeover approach by Kraft-Heinz. The aim was to make it more efficient and agile in a consumer market that is changing fast.

But Unilever said it recognized that the proposal had not received support from a significant group of shareholders and therefore it considers it appropriate to withdraw.

“The board will now consider its next steps and will continue to engage with our shareholders,” chairman Marijn Dekkers said. He added that the company will proceed with the plan to cancel its Dutch preference shares.

Earlier this week, influential proxy advisory firm PIRC recommended shareholders vote against the move, which would have seen the maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream kicked off the benchmark FTSE 100 index.