- Unilever has announced plans to unify its group corporate structure under a single parent company, Unilever PLC, via a cross-border merger, as it said the COVID-19 pandemic had created a business environment where having 'flexibility and responsiveness' will be 'critically important'.

The company said that Unilever NV will be merged into Unilever PLC, with Unilever PLC as the resultant entity.

It said that the ongoing strategic review of its tea business had demonstrated that the dual-headed legal structure can create 'disadvantages' for the group and that if the outcome of the review were a demerger of the tea business, this would be 'significantly more challenging' under the current legal structure than under a single parent structure.

Unilever confirmed that Unilever PLC will continue to be incorporated in the UK and will remain UK tax resident and that the move to a single parent company means it will have one class of shares, one market capitalisation, and a single global pool of liquidity.

Unilever NV shareholders will receive one new Unilever PLC share in exchange for each Unilever NV share held.

Chairman Nils Andersen said: 'Unilever's board believes that unifying the company's legal structure will create greater strategic flexibility, remove complexity and further improve governance.

'We remain committed to The Netherlands and the UK and there will be no change to Unilever's footprint in either country as a result of the proposed change to Unilever's legal parent structure.'

The company also confirmed that the headquarters of its foods and refreshment division, which was created in 2018, will continue to be based in Rotterdam, while its home care and beauty and personal care divisions will continue to be headquartered in the UK.

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