Panasonic to pull European headquarters out of U.K. ahead of Brexit

Panasonic will move its European headquarters out of Britain in October to avoid potential tax issues tied to Brexit, the country’s planned departure from the European Union.

A Panasonic representative shows an attendee features on one of their new video cameras during a show at the Las Vegas Convention center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 9. Since then, the multinational electronics corporation has decided to move its European headquarters over the Brexit deal. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo
A Panasonic representative shows an attendee features on one of their new video cameras during a show at the Las Vegas Convention center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 9. Since then, the multinational electronics corporation has decided to move its European headquarters over the Brexit deal. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

Panasonic Europe CEO Laurent Abadie announced Thursday the Japanese multinational electronics corporation would move its corporate base from Bracknell, in greater London area, to Amsterdam, in October.
Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union is seven months away.

“We have been studying this for almost one year, and evaluating everything, and then we decided a few months ago to move forward,” Abadie told Quartz, adding the company examined potential tax issues, and its ability to move goods and capital, before deciding it should move.

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Brexit is “a very difficult issue, and as a company we cannot wait,” Abadie said. “We cannot wait until March and then if something really goes wrong, or bad, or good-I cannot judge-but if there’s no agreement by March, then immediately on the first of April, there will be customs clearance, and duties, and fees, so we see a big risk.”

For many Japanese companies, Britain has long served as an entry door to the European market, Abadie added, but “after Brexit,” it “cannot be the entry door to Europe any more, that’s a fact.”

Abadie told Nikkei Asian Review that Japan could also treat the United Kingdom as a tax haven if it lowers its corporate rate after Brexit, resulting in Panasonic being asked to pay more taxes in Japan.

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Some Japanese insurers have also relocated because of Brexit, Nikkei Asian Review reported, though such moves have been rare among manufacturers.

By

Sommer Brokaw