Royal London Asset Management has become the latest Unilever (LON:ULVR) shareholder to oppose the company’s plan to scrap its London headquarters, Citi A.M. reports. The news comes as Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) advised investors with London-listed shares in the consumer goods giant to oppose the move which will see the company lose its spot in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Unilever’s share price has fallen deep into the red in today’s trading, having given up 2.94 percent to 4,100.00p as of 14:48 BST. The shares are underperforming the selloff in the broader UK market, which has seen the FTSE 100 give up 0.89 percent to 7,443.10p so far today amid concerns over a rate hike in the US.
Royal London joins opposition
City A.M. quoted Royal London Asset Management head of sustainable investments Mike Fox as commenting yesterday that many UK shareholders in Unilever “voting for the upcoming resolution are effectively voting for forced divestment of their holding”.
“Unilever might be able to convince European shareholders that the move makes sense for the company and for them as investors in the long term, but it’s hard for a UK investor to see an incentive to vote in favour,” Fox pointed out. His comments came as PIRC said yesterday that the group’s exclusion from the benchmark FTSE 100 index “may compel some shareholders to sell their shares at a price and time that is not of their choosing”.
Columbia Threadneedle and Schroders (LON:SDR) have also signalled that they will vote down Unilever’s plans to scrap its London headquarters, joining Legal & General (LON:LGEN), Aviva (LON:AV), as well as Brewin Dolphin and M&G Investments. The London vote is scheduled for October 26.