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Legal and General IM takes on Unilever over corporate strategy

Ballot-Box-Vote-700.jpgLegal and General Investment Management has stepped up its activist position over Unilever, declaring its intention to vote against the consumer goods giant’s plans to consolidator the firm overseas.

LGIM says it has taken the “unusual” step by announcing its decision well ahead of Unilever’s general meeting next month due to “significant client enquiries”.

Unilever plans to simplify its corporate structure into a single Netherlands listing at a meeting on 26 October. LGIM is its sixth-largest shareholder.

LGIM director of corporate governance Sacha Sadan says: “As a supportive shareholder in Unilever for more than 25 years, we have engaged with the company on a number of issues including its decision to unify its corporate structure.  We asked the company to ensure that any approach they take safeguards the ability of our clients to maintain their investment and benefit from Unilever’s continued success. 

“We understand Unilever has explored a number of alternatives in reaching its final decision. However, we do not believe Unilever has made a compelling case for many shareholders to support the recommendation in favour of Dutch incorporation. Therefore, we intend to vote against Unilever’s proposed resolution.”   

Legal and General said earlier this year that it would look to wield its shareholder power to help address gender balance at firms, while the likes of Royal London has targetted bonuses and pay at companies they invest in such as Metro Bank.

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