Unilever unification could be scuppered by €11b Dutch tax

Unilever has threatened to axe plans to create a single base in London if a multi-billion “exit” tax goes ahead.

The Times reports that the company had intended to ditch its Anglo-Dutch structure by mid-November.

However, the proposed tax from the opposition Green Left party in the Netherlands means unifying its two headquarters would reportedly cost around €11 billion.

A private members’ bill to penalise Dutch-registered companies moving out of the country was tabled last month.

READ MORE: Unilever profit wiped out by rising costs

To become law, it will need to be examined by the Council of State and then passed by both chambers of the Dutch parliament.

Unilever believes the proposed tax is a breach of European Union rules as well as international agreements signed by the Netherlands.

It marks the latest of the Marmite manufacturer’s attempts to shed its unwieldy dual structure.

In 2018, it was forced to drop plans to unify its headquarters in the Netherlands after a revolt by British shareholders.

The FTSE 100 company, which owns brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Dove, recommended a single base in the UK two months ago.

Unilever began 91 years ago after the British soap maker Lever Brothers merged with Unie, the margarine business.

It has maintained two separate holding companies with head offices in London and Rotterdam ever since.

The news comes after the multinational saw its projected operating margin increase flattened by rising costs.

It raised prices by 2.2 per cent in June and predicted further increases later in the year.

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