Unilever signals unlikely to stay in FTSE after Dutch move

Unilever said its withdrawing from the FTSE was the right thing to do for the firm. ― Reuters pic
Unilever said its withdrawing from the FTSE was the right thing to do for the firm. ― Reuters pic

LONDON, June 14 — Consumer goods group Unilever said it is “extremely unlikely” to stay in Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index after ending its dual-headed structure and moving its headquarters to the Netherlands.

Unilever’s chief financial officer Graeme Pitkethly told a conference hosted by Deutsche Bank on Thursday, that after “engaging very extensively” with listings group FTSE Russell, it was clear the company’s new shares were “extremely unlikely” to be included in the FTSE UK series.

Unilever’s London listed shares were down 2.6 per cent at 0828 GMT.

“We understand and appreciate that a departure from the FTSE index has negative implications for some investors that are benchmarked to it, however simplification is the right thing for the company and our shareholders as a whole,” Pitkethly said.

“We’ll be maintaining a premium listing in London and we would hope that those investors who are impacted have got sufficient flexibility in their portfolios to continue to hold Unilever.”

Pitkethly said he expects the shares will likely have increased weighting in the pan-European indices instead.

The company is on track to send out documentation about the move early in the third quarter, ahead of shareholder meetings and votes to take place at the end of the third quarter, with the change being completed by the end of the year.

Unilever also flagged that a transport strike in Brazil, which is now over, reduced its sales by about €150 million (RM706 million), and that as a result, its sales growth for the first half of the year would be below its full-year target of 3 to 5 percent.

It affirmed that target for the full year. — Reuters

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