Unilever says Dutch 'exit' tax is illegal
Unilever’s boss has brushed off concerns that a Dutch ‘departure tax’ could cost it €11 billion, saying the proposed legislation would break various EU laws.
The tax bill has been proposed by the Dutch opposition Green Left party in a bid to dissuade other large companies from leaving the Netherlands.
Unilever, which currently operates as two separately listed entities in the UK and the Netherlands, has recently received widespread shareholder support to merge Unilever NV into the group’s PLC arm.
The move to unify its corporate structure under a single parent company will result in a more agile and flexible business, it said, two qualities that will be indispensable in the face of Covid-19 uncertainty.
Speaking about the tax threat, Unilever CEO Alan Jope said that two Dutch legal firms and a consulting group said that the proposed bill would break “different treaties and EU law and the convention of Human Rights.”
“Whether it is legally enforceable or not, we believe unification remains in the best interests of Unilever, its shareholders and other stakeholders as a whole,” Jope told The Times.
His comments come after a triumphant week for the company, with Unilever posting better than expected results for the third quarter of 2020. The owner of beauty, home care and food brands beat analysts forecasts by announcing a 4.4% increase in underlying sales.
The performance was much better than the 1.3% rise forecast by City analysts and a significant improvement on the previous quarter, when sales fell 0.3%.
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