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More investors join Unilever protest

Columbia Threadneedle has become the latest major shareholder to oppose consumer goods giant Unilever’s planned move to the Netherlands.

The manager said it was prepared to vote against the firm’s proposals to become a single entity incorporated in the Netherlands, ending its joint Anglo-Dutch structure.

Unilver is holding an extraordinary general meeting over the plans later this month. Though it is still more than three weeks away, the likes of Schroders , Legal & General, M&G, Aviva Investors, Lindsell Train and Brewin Dolphin have all already said they plan to oppose the change.

Concerns have been raised over the potential for Unilever to drop out of the FTSE 100, forcing some investors to sell, as well as over how dividends will be taxed in the future.

Columbia Threadneedle’s head of responsible investment Ian Richards says: “We believe the Unilever restructuring is detrimental to UK Plc shareholders and we will be voting against the proposed resolution at the Unilever EGM on 26 October 2018.”

Based on different data sources, Columbia has a reported stake of between 1.2 and 1.4 per cent in Unilever.

Combined, major managers that are opposing the move could have a stake worth more than 10 per cent of the firm.

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