With exiled former regional president Carles Puigdemont hoping for a ‘virtual’ investiture as leader from Brussels and his former deputy Oriol Junqueras seeking to do so from prison – both of whom have been told this is not on the cards – the continuing political uncertainty in Catalunya and the pro-secession parties gaining a majority in an election forced by the national government means major corporations are playing it cautiously.
Since the disputed independence referendum on October 1, over 3,200 firms have moved their head offices out of the region.
This effectively means, in most cases, simply a change of address and domiciling their activities on paper at another branch elsewhere in the country, so it has not caused any closures or redundancies in Catalunya.
But it does mean Catalunya no longer benefits from their taxes, which are paid to their new regions and would be paid to the Spanish government in the unlikely event of the north-eastern region ever becoming an independent country.
Japanese multi-national Panasonic, previously based in Cornellà de Llobregat (Barcelona province) has now moved to Alcobendas in the Greater Madrid region, to the east of the capital.
The company employs around 150 people in Spain and handles business relations in the country for the Asian giant.
Mitsubishi Electric, a world leader in the electronics sector, was originally in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona province), but is now in San Fernando de Henares, also in the Greater Madrid region.
Pastificio Restaurantes – a holding of the AmRest Group and owner of the brand La Tagliatella – has moved from Barcelona to the ‘celebrity city’ of Pozuelo de Alarcón, a wealthy commuter town just outside Madrid.
Hotel group Gargallo, which has branches in Catalunya and Aragón including the Hotel Suizo in Barcelona and the Hotel Colonial and Hotel Barcino chains, was previously based on the city-centre Vía Laietana in Barcelona but has now shifted out of the region.
Unlike the others, it has not gone to Spain’s largest city but to one of its smallest towns – Mora de Rubielos, in the southern-Aragón province of Teruel, right at the heart of the skiing district and home to several hotels used by travelers hitting the pistes.
Along with these national and multi-national corporations, another 30 or so smaller companies have moved their domiciles from Catalunya to Madrid.
They include transport firm Expediciones Montcada, refrigeration company Epta Iberia, financial services group Mercury Capital, and medical beautician equipment makers and distributors Becomedical Aesthetic.