Unilever's Dutch shareholders have threatened the company with further legal action over what they consider to be losses of E420m (£290m).

The consumer goods giant issued the preference shares in 1999 but a Dutch court has ordered an investigation into the company's plans to convert them into ordinary stock after investors complained they had been expecting the shares to be bought back for cash.

Dutch shareholder group VEB has claimed shareholders were loosing out as the swap offers a lower value than if they were paid out the cash they were expecting, according to newspaper reports today.

The shortfall is estimated at E2 a share, which means the total damages amount to E420m.