Sony to move Europe HQ to Netherlands to avoid Brexit woes

The move will make the firm "a company based in the EU", so the bloc's common customs procedures will apply to Sony's European operations after Britain relinquishes membership.
The move will make the firm "a company based in the EU", so the bloc's common customs procedures will apply to Sony's European operations after Britain relinquishes membership.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • Sony will shift its European headquarters from Britain to the Netherlands to avoid Brexit-related Customs issues, but operations at its current British company will remain unchanged, a Sony spokesman said yesterday.

"We are moving the location of our European headquarters' registration to the Netherlands" by the end of March, company spokesman Takashi Iida told Agence France-Presse. The relocation is aimed at avoiding cumbersome Customs-related procedures after Britain leaves the European Union, he said.

The Japanese electronics giant late last year registered a new company in the Netherlands and plans to integrate its existing European headquarters in Britain into the new company. The move will make the firm "a company based in the EU" so the bloc's common Customs procedures will apply to Sony's European operations after Britain relinquishes membership, Mr Iida said.

Sony, however, will not move personnel and operations from the existing British company to the Netherlands and "the only change we will make is the change of registered location of the company", he added.

Several other Japanese firms, including megabank MUFG, Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities, have said they are planning to move their main EU bases out of London. The British Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal last week, leaving the United Kingdom on course to exit the EU on March 29 with no deal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Sony to move Europe HQ to Netherlands to avoid Brexit woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe