Parsing the Unilever dual listing

NV and PLC together with their group companies operate effectively as a single economic entity.


Unilever was founded in 1930 following a business merger between Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie of the Netherlands and Lever Brothers Limited of the UK. To avoid punitive taxation levies and the disruption to the business that would result from dividing integrated national companies into their component parts, both companies pooled their interests through a business merger as opposed to a legal merger. Two controlling companies were set up, one English (Unilever Ltd - now Unilever PLC) and the other Dutch (Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie – now Unilever NV). To allow both companies to operate as a single legal entity notwithstanding their independent legal structures, a series of agreements was put in place: mutual sharing of brands and technology; equalisation of dividend; mutual guarantee of borrowings; identical Boards of Directors and equal treatment for shareholders in the event of dissolution.
Comment: I gather it doesn't matter which one. We have UN


  1. UN is for the Dutch-listed stock and UL is for the UK-listed stock

  2. Unilever NV (UN) and Unilever PLC (UL) operate as the two parent companies for the Unilever Group. A series of agreements ensure that the position of shareholders in both companies is, as nearly as possible, the same as if they held shares in a single company. Unilever PLC (UL) is listed as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) on the NYSE and as shares in London. Unilever NV (UN) is a public limited company registered in The Netherlands with listings on stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich, and New York (NYSE). Shares listed on the NYSE of Unilever NV (UN) are known as New York Shares. In May 2006, a share capital consolidation was approved and implemented. The Unilever NV shares were split in a ratio of 20 to 9 and the Unilever PLC shares were exchanged into new 31/9 pence ordinary shares. The net result is that UN and UL are almost equivalent shares in terms of both company ownership and price per share.

    Source: http://www.wikinvest.com/wiki/UN


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