LONDON — In an effort to tighten up operations after fighting off a $143 billion hostile takeover bid last year from Kraft Heinz, Unilever has unveiled a restructuring of its product categories and confirmed plans to keep some of its operations in London.
The Anglo-Dutch giant has organized its offer into three categories: Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care and Foods & Refreshment. Both the Beauty & Personal Care and Home Care divisions will be based in London while Foods & Refreshment will be located in Rotterdam.
The company will also transition from two legal entities into one, incorporated in the Netherlands, although the company will still operate in London, the Netherlands and New York. The company confirmed that the staff will be “unaffected by the changes announced today.” There are 7,300 employees in the U.K. and 3,100 in the Netherlands.
“The board believes the move to three divisions and the simplification of our corporate structure will create a simpler, more agile and more focused company with increased strategic flexibility for value-creating portfolio change,” said Marijn Dekkers, chairman of Unilever.
“Our decision to headquarter the divisions in the U.K. and the Netherlands underscores our long-term commitment to both countries. The changes announced today also further strengthen Unilever’s corporate governance, creating for the first time in our history a ‘one share, one vote’ principle for all our shareholders.”
British media had speculated that Unilever was planning to leave the U.K. for good, but a company spokeswoman said this was not the case. “We’re not moving headquarters. We’re keeping the building.” The Unilever building, overlooking the Thames on Victoria Embankment, is a London landmark.
As reported, Unilever said it’s on track to become a leaner and more nimble business as the company reported a 16.9 percent uptick in 2017 profit to 6.5 billion euros on sales of 53.7 billion euros, 1.9 percent higher than the previous year.