Depositary receipts are issued for approximately 80% of the Unilever N.V. ordinary shares.
The depositary receipts for the Unilever N.V. ordinary shares (ISIN NL0000009355) are listed on Euronext Amsterdam. Though technically not correct, the depositary receipts are often referred to as Unilever N.V. ordinary shares. The Unilever N.V. ordinary shares (ISIN NL0000388619) are also listed on Euronext Amsterdam and in the form of New York Registry Shares on the New York Stock Exchange.
Holders of depositary receipts can under all circumstances exchange their depositary receipts for the Unilever N.V. shares (or vice versa) in the form of registered shares, bearer shares or New York Registry Shares.
Holders of depositary receipts are fully entitled to dividends that are paid on the underlying shares held by the Foundation Unilever N.V. Trust Office.
Pursuant to an agreement with Unilever N.V. dividends will be paid directly to the holders of depositary receipts.
The purpose of issuance of depositary receipts for Unilever N.V. is to prevent a chance minority of shareholders from controlling the decision-making process as a result of absenteeism at a Unilever N.V. general meeting of shareholders. The attendance rates in the Unilever N.V. general meetings of shareholders are relatively low. During 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 less (excluding the shares held by the Foundation Unilever N.V. Trust Office) than respectively 44.1%, 43.3%, 51.03% and 46,91% of the ordinary shares were represented.
Another reason for the issuance of depositary receipts arrangements is that a substantial part of Unilever N.V.'s outstanding share capital is held in the form of preference financing shares which, at the moment, are held by a 100% subsidiary company of Unilever PLC.