JAPANESE TECH FIRM Sony plans to shift its UK headquarters to the Netherlands as it fears the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
The move will see the firm register its £3.3bn European business in Amsterdam, moving it from its current location of Weybridge in Surrey. According to documents seen by the Telegraph, the move could be completed as soon as 29 March 2019.
Sony said the merger was to "continue business as usual without disruption" and would not result in job losses.
The relocation sees Sony following in the footsteps of fellow Japanese outfit Panasonic, which also last year announced plans to move its European HQ to Amsterdam.
The firm said at the time that it planned to relocate in order to "pursue improved efficiency and cost competitiveness while having easy access to the different markets within Europe".
Panasonic European CEO Laurent Abadie said the company was concerned about possible upcoming changes to tariffs and taxes as a result of Brexit, and the consequent competitiveness of its sole UK factory in Cardiff, South Wales.
"The big risk for Japanese companies are factories based in the UK that are importing and exporting parts," Abadie told the Telegraph.
"We have a factory in Cardiff which is producing appliance products, which imports a lot of parts. That could be an issue, so we are studying it... At the moment there is no decision."
It is believed that one of the tax issues Panasonic is concerned about is the fear that, post-Brexit, the Japanese government could declare the UK a tax haven and whack the company with a hefty tax bill.
The company's UK HQ employs around 30 staff and around 20 of them will be expected to up sticks for the Netherlands or work remotely. Given that the company's HQ is currently in Bracknell, that's probably not so bad for the staff concerned.
In a statement given to INQ, Sony clarifies: "Sony Europe has established a new legal entity 'Sony Europe B.V.' in Amsterdam (NL) and will merge 'Sony Europe Ltd,' (UK) into that new entity. In this way we can continue our business as usual without disruption once the UK leaves the EU.
"All our existing European business functions, facilities, departments, sites and location of our people will remain unchanged from today." µ
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