Published:  01:04 AM, 11 February 2019

Netherlands talking to 250 firms about leaving UK


The Dutch government has said it is in talks with more than 250 companies about moving their operations from the UK to the Netherlands before Brexit. The economic affairs ministry said it had lured 42 companies or branch offices and 1,923 jobs from the UK last year, as it increases its efforts to gain Brexit business.

Among those who have chosen to invest in the Netherlands are the Discovery Channel, Sony and Bloomberg. Sony announced last month it was moving its European headquarters to Amsterdam, as companies in the UK continue to progress with contingency plans. Its rival Panasonic has already moved to the Dutch capital.

The government report said another Japanese company, the investment bank Norinchukin, was also moving to Amsterdam, along with the global content company TVT Media, the financial services providers MarketAxess and Azimo, and the maritime insurer UK P&I Club.

While Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, recently said he did not see Brexit as a business opportunity, countries including Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg have been actively looking for opportunities to capitalise on Brexit ever since the EU referendum.

Banks and other financial services are obliged to have operations in a member state if they want to serve a pan-EU market, while broadcasters who transmit across the EU need to have a licence in one member state to meet regulations. The BBC is considering setting up an international base in Belgium.

The Dutch economic affairs ministry said: "In 2019, several companies including Discovery and Bloomberg have already announced their intention to invest in the Netherlands because of Brexit. "Additionally, the Netherlands foreign investment agency is talking with more than 250 foreign companies considering setting up operations in the Netherlands following Brexit."

Most of the 250 companies were British, but some were American or Asian firms reconsidering their European branch structures, the report said. "These include companies in the financial sector, media and advertising, life sciences and health and logistics."

The number of companies relocating to an EU member state is expected to grow. Both the Institute of Directors and the Confederation of British industry said recently that businesses needed certainty and visibility for investment and could not ride out the political uncertainty. France has identified 50 companies, including motor and pharmaceutical industries, that it is trying to entice across the Channel.

Last month President Emmanuel Macron hosted an investment summit for more than 140 business leaders, including bosses of companies with a significant British presence, such as Goldman Sachs, Google and Siemens. Last week the boss of Siemens UK, Jürgen Maier, said Britain and the Conservative party were being held to ransom by hardline Brexiters in the European Research Group.


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