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Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Panasonic Plans Post Brexit Move From London to Amsterdam

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Panasonic Plans Post Brexit Move From London to Amsterdam

  • Electronics manufacturer mulling decision for past 15 months
  • Slipping timeline on Brexit talks risks disorderly exit
Panasonic Corp.'s Automatic Translation Megaphone
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Panasonic Corp. is set to move its European headquarters from near London to Amsterdam because of Brexit, marking another high-profile shift out of the country.

The move will take effect on Oct. 1 and was made partly to ward off potential negative effects of Britain leaving the European Union, and partly because the Japanese electronic maker’s holding company was already based in Amsterdam, Panasonic spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu said in an emailed statement.

The decision was reported earlier by Japan’s Nikkei newspaper in an interview with the company’s head of Europe, Laurent Abadie. Japan’s potential treatment of the U.K. as a tax haven prompted the decision, Abadie told Nikkei.

Britain announced plans in 2016 to gradually lower its 20 percent corporate tax rate to retain multinational corporations after its departure from the EU. Such cuts could result in the U.K. being designated a tax haven, raising the possibility that companies operating there have to pay back taxes at home.

Brexit could result in “potential fiscal obstacles by the application of different rules and regulations between the U.K. and EU,” which Panasonic wants to minimize, the company said in the statement.

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Laurent Abadie

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The potential move comes amid rising concerns over a “no deal” Brexit. The timeline for the U.K. government’s negotiation with the EU took a turn for the worse Wednesday with the U.K. telling the EU negotiators it must compromise on its opposition to Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans or risk a disorderly exit from the trade bloc.

Of the people employed at Panasonic’s London office, 10 to 20 who handle auditing and financial operations will be moved to the Netherlands, with investor relations staff remaining in the U.K., Nikkei reported.

— With assistance by Pavel Alpeyev

(Updates with comment from Panasonic in second and fifth paragraph.)