Consumer goods giant Unilever is said to be planning to shift more than a 100 UK jobs to the Netherlands as part of a move to create a new global headquarters for brands such as PG Tips and Magnum ice cream.
Sky News reported yesterday (10 October) that the Anglo-Dutch company has begun consultations with about 140 UK workers regarding the relocations, although Unilever itself has not disclosed any such plans. Just-food contacted Unilever this morning and is awaiting comment.
The decision is unrelated to Brexit, Sky quoted sources as saying, but is being driven by CEO Paul Polman’s desire to accelerate efforts to make Unilever’s business more efficient. The headquarters of the home and personal care division, which includes Persil and Lynx, will remain in the UK, it said.
Unilever is in the process of selling off its spreads business, which includes the Flora margarine brand.
Earlier in October, Reuters reported the company had asked private-equity bidders to submit offers by 19 October. Buyout houses Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice are said to have teamed up. Private-equity firms Blackstone and CVC are said to be ready to join forces on an offer, while KKR has also been reported to be set to lodge a bid, alongside sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Unilever’s announcement of the UK job relocations to the Netherlands comes a week after it said it was considering the future of the Colman’s Mustard production site in Norwich that it shares with soft drinks brand Robinson’s, which is owned by Britvic. One option is for the “potential closure” of the facility. The company is expected to consult with 113 employees at that plant and a final decision is expected to be made by the end of November.