Panasonic moving out of UK to avoid ‘troubling’ Brexit tax

PUBLISHED: 11:15 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 30 August 2018

Canary Wharf at sunrise in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Canary Wharf at sunrise in London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has announced it is shifting its European headquarters out of the UK ahead of Brexit.

Panasonic Europe’s chief executive Laurent Abadie said the move – from London to Amsterdam – is to avoid tax issues linked to the UK leaving the EU.

It is the latest multinational firm to pull jobs and operations from the UK.

Planemaker Airbus warned in June it could quit the UK if Britain leaves without a trade deal, while Unilever announced in March it was moving its corporate HQ to Rotterdam.

It is understood that Panasonic’s decision is linked to concerns that Japan could see the UK as a tax haven if it cuts corporation tax to attract businesses post-Brexit.

If it that was the case, Panasonic could face higher taxes back in Japan.

A number of other Japanese firms have revealed plans to move their European bases out of the UK, including banking giants Nomura Holdings, Daiwa Securities, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Carmakers Honda and Nissan are also among a raft of Japanese firms that employ large workforces in the UK.

It is thought there are 879 Japanese companies employing 142,000 staff in Britain, including Honda and Nissan.

Other major firms that have announced plans to pull staff out of the UK due to Brexit include banking group HSBC, which plans to move up to 1,000 jobs to France, while JP Morgan has said around 1,000 front and back-office roles are likely to be relocated from London.

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