Unilever CEO raises stake as shares fall

UNILEVER chief executive Paul Polman has increased his stake in the Anglo-Dutch consumer product firm, taking advantage of a heavy fall in the price of the shares last week.

Polman has spent over €900,000 (£748,000) buying Unilever’s Amsterdam-listed shares since Friday, bringing his stake up to 84,471 shares, according to Dutch securities regulator AFM. He also bought 1,000 additional London-listed shares in Unilever at a cost of over £17,000, increasing his stock to 55,448 shares.

The costly purchase came despite a disappointing performance by Unilever in the second quarter, when it missed expectations with a 3.6 per cent rise in sales. At the time of the results last week, Polman warned of an even tougher second half to come, with more intense competition from competitors, rising input costs and a difficult economic environment.

However, the resulting share price plunge of over five per cent presented an ideal opportunity for Polman to increase his stake. Under the terms of his contract, the chief executive must own shares worth 400 per cent of his €1.03m base salary over the next five years.

He currently owns around €2.9m in company stock.

Polman joined Unilever in January last year from Nestle, where he had been chief financial officer for three years.