Unilever's legal structure and foundation agreements
Unilever N.V. and Unilever PLC have different shareholder constituencies and shareholders cannot convert or exchange the shares of one company for shares of the other.
NV is listed in Amsterdam and New York. PLC is listed in London and New York.
Unilever's legal structure
Further details on Unilever's shares and listings are set out under 'Shareholder information', under the related links on the right hand side.
The Foundation Agreements
The Unilever Group is created and maintained by a series of agreements between the parent companies, NV and PLC, together with special provisions in their respective articles of association, which are together known as the Foundation Agreements. These agreements enable Unilever to achieve unity of management, operations, shareholders' rights, purpose and mission.
The Equalisation Agreement
The Equalisation Agreement regulates the mutual rights of the shareholders of NV and PLC. Its objective is to ensure that the position of these shareholders is, as far as possible, the same as if they held shares in a single company.
The Deed of Mutual Covenants
Unity of operations is facilitated by the Deed of Mutual Covenants. It is an agreement between NV and PLC which provides, amongst other things, for the allocation of assets within the Unilever Group.
The agreement for mutual guarantees of borrowing
The agreement for mutual guarantees of borrowing also assists in the creation of the single operating platform. Under the agreement NV and PLC each, will, if asked by the other, guarantee the borrowings of the other. The two companies can also agree jointly to guarantee the borrowings of their subsidiaries. These arrangements are used, as a matter of financial policy, for certain significant public borrowings. They enable lenders to rely on our combined financial strength.
Further details on the foundation agreements are set out in the document entitled ‘The Governance of Unilever’ (PDF | 2MB).