Polymers and petrochemicals group Ineos is considering a relocation of its headquarters and tax residence from the UK to Switzerland. It said potential cash tax savings would be €450m between now and 2014 if it went ahead with the move, which would need the consent of its lenders.
Ineos said its day-to-day operations in the UK and locations around the world would remain unaffected by the plan. But the transfer of its headquarters would be a symbolically charged move for a company set up as a UK business by its chairman Jim Ratcliffe.
Ineos was formed in 1998 and has grown quickly through acquisition to be the world’s third largest chemical company, with leading positions in polyolefins, vinyls and styrenics. Milestones over the past 12 years have included its acquisition of BP’s polyolefins business in 2005 and Hydro Polymer in 2008.
The group employs15,500 people across 64 plants in 14 countries, with 70% of its revenue coming from outside the UK. But its links to the UK are still strong, with 3,700 permanent staff employed at eight UK sites.
In a statement, it said: - The €450m tax saving would further support investment in skills, plant and technology, considered by the company to be critical to driving future growth and competitive advantage. Irrespective of this change Ineos remains committed to its UK operations.
Tom Crotty, chief executive of Ineos - said. - We have to make a decision that is right for Ineos, our businesses and our sites, to ensure we remain competitive long-term in a global marketplace. Many leading chemical companies have European or global operations resident in Switzerland and we need to compete effectively with them.
- We remain committed to the UK and our facilities will continue to play an essential part in the long-term growth of Ineos. Investment in people skills, plant and technology is an important element of our ongoing competitiveness and the change of tax residence would allow us to increase investment to the benefit of all stakeholders in our business.