Left Menu
Development News Edition

'Irresponsible': Dutch legal advisor criticises plan for Unilever 'exit tax'

Unilever has said the tax would cost it 11 billion euros ($13 billion) if enacted, enough to derail unification. The Dutch Council of State, which advises parliament on the legality of bills, said on Friday the proposed tax would violate basic principles of the rule of law.

Reuters | Updated: 09-10-2020 18:31 IST | Created: 09-10-2020 18:31 IST
'Irresponsible': Dutch legal advisor criticises plan for Unilever 'exit tax'

A top Dutch legal body said on Friday that it was probably not "legally sustainable" to levy a one-time tax on Unilever over its plan to unify management in a single London headquarters.

The bill by the opposition Green Left party for an "exit tax" is one of the few remaining hurdles for Unilever as it simplifies its Anglo-Dutch structure. British shareholders are due to vote on the move on Monday. Unilever has said the tax would cost it 11 billion euros ($13 billion) if enacted, enough to derail unification.

The Dutch Council of State, which advises parliament on the legality of bills, said on Friday the proposed tax would violate basic principles of the rule of law. If enacted, "the chance that this proposal will turn out to be not legally sustainable is so great that (we) consider introducing it irresponsible," the Council said in its advice, which is not binding but nearly always heeded.

Green Left said it was not abandoning the plan and it re-introduced the law with modifications. "Unilever is threatening to leave the Netherlands with its pockets full so that shareholders can avoid taxes," bill author Bart Snels said in a statement.

Unilever said on Friday it was studying the advice and modified bill. Parliament has not yet set a date to debate the bill, making it unlikely it could be passed before Unilever's unification is complete on Nov. 29. "The boards intend to proceed with their proposals provided that, in the boards' view, unification remains in the best interests of Unilever, its shareholders and other stakeholders as a whole," Unilever said.

Unilever's unification would end 90 years as a hybrid since Britain's soap-making Lever Brothers merged with Margarine Unie in the Netherlands. The maker of Dove soap, Hellman's mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry's ice cream says its dual structure hampers its ability to conduct acquisitions and disposals quickly, such as the planned sale of its 3 billion euros per year tea business.

The final steps to complete the cross-border merger to unite its entities include hearings by the High Court in London on Oct. 23 and Nov. 2, with the Dutch NV shares ceasing trading after Nov. 27.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Smart healthcare: IoT redefining the way healthcare is delivered

As the world is embracing the new wave of digitalization triggered by the pandemic and the arrival of 5G, the adoption of IoT devices will further boom. With adoption set to soar, IoT security issues and other challenges cant be ignored any...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Salesforce has approached Slack with acquisition offer - source

Cloud-based software company Salesforce.com Inc has approached workplace messaging app Slack Technologies Inc with an acquisition offer, a source told Reuters on Wednesday. Salesforce sees the move as a logical extension of its enterprise o...

Egyptian film director wins ILO award for short film 'Message to my Dad'

Egyptian film director Loai Galal has won an ILO award at the Shasha Mobile Film Festival for his short film Message to my Dad, which tells the story of a young woman who is a victim of gender-based violence.The seven-minute film shot entir...

Google Pay's old application, website to lose payment features in America in January

Google on Tuesday local time said that its payments application Google Pays iOS, and Androidapplications along with its website version are set to lose their payment features in America. According to the Verge, applications will only work t...

Cyclone 'Nivar' expected to weaken in next six hours

The severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar is likely to continue to move northwestwards and weaken further into a cyclonic storm in the next six hours, the India Meteorological Department IMD, Goa informed on Tuesday. The storm crossed the coasts of T...

Give Feedback