Catalunya corporate exodus continues: MRW, Mahou, Colonial and Abertis among major ‘leavers’
Courier firm MRW and insurance company Catalana Occidente have decided to move their head offices out of Catalunya, fearing its regional government will make a unilateral declaration of independence.
MRW, which used to handle Amazon deliveries for customers in Spain ordering from the UK and has been trading for 40 years, will set up in Valencia, whilst Catalana Occidente plans to shift to Madrid’s main business boulevard, the Paseo de la Castellana.
Once again, both companies say employees will not have to relocate, but that the head offices in Catalunya will now become branches as the firms will be domiciled in other regions.
Beer manufacturer San Miguel, part of the Mahou chain, plans to move to Málaga from Barcelona, whilst the huge estate agency chain Colonial, along with transport infrastructure engineers Abertis and DVD Dental, are heading for Madrid.
CaixaBank has already shifted to Valencia, Banco Sabadell to Alicante, Gas Natural Fenosa, Dogi, Service Point, SegurCaixa Adeslas insurance, Grupo Lecta-Torraspapel, Trea Asset Management, CaixaBank Asset Management, VidaCaixa and Naturhouse to Madrid, and the La Caixa Foundation and Criteria CaixaHolding have gone to Palma de Mallorca.
Manufacturers of Spain’s most widely-consumed hot chocolate, Cola Cao, and literature publishing group Planeta say they will move out of Catalunya if its president, Carles Puigdemont, declares independence, whilst Spain’s largest makers of cava, Freixenet and Cordoniu, are considering moving away from the region they have been based in since they were founded and with which their names have always been synonymous.
Construction giant Copasa will shift out of Barcelona and set up in the north-western cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), although investment bank GVC Gaesco claims its own move to Madrid was decided in September.
Many of these firms are, or have recently been, members of the élite Ibex 35 group – the top 35 Spanish companies on the stock exchange
In total, over 30 companies have announced plans to shift out of Catalunya, all of which are corporate giants.
They will not necessarily be physically moving, but changing their domicile from Catalunya to other parts of Spain means their taxation régime will see more cash flowing into their new regions and, if Catalunya were to become an independent country, it would not benefit from multi-millions in tax which would instead be paid to the Spanish State, where their companies were registered.
Savers and investors have reportedly been queuing up at banks in Catalunya to withdraw their funds and place them in branches of the same banks outside the region.
This has particularly been seen in the west and south of Catalunya, where a short trip over the border takes them into Aragón and Valencia respectively.