Technology giant Sony has announced plans to shift its European headquarters out of the UK by the end of March 2019 in order to avoid any customs issues as a result of Brexit. The Japanese electronics company, currently based in London, will register a new company in Amsterdam to ensure its European division remains registered in the EU. This will mean the bloc’s common customs procedures will continue to apply to the company’s European operations after the UK relinquishes its membership, Takashi Iida company spokesperson told Agence France-Presse. According to Iida, the move will not affect personnel and operations in the UK. “The only change we will make is the change of registered location of the company“, he said.
The company clarified its plans in a statement: “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.
The news came after Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe warned that a no-deal Brexit could have consequences for Japanese businesses in the UK. “Japan and the UK have been building a very strong partnership, not only in the political arena but also the economic arena,” he said. “For Japan, the UK is the gateway to the European market – Japanese businesses have created 1,000 bases in the UK offering more than 150,000 jobs.
Sony is the latest in a string of Japanese firms, including Panasonic and Nomura Holdings, who have said they are looking at options to shift their bases from the UK.
With a diversified business including consumer electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services, Sony is ranked at 97 in the Fortune Global 500 list. It was founded in 1946 by Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, and today employs over 117,000 worldwide. The company’s Japanese headquarters, dubbed Sony City, is located in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo.
Source: Agence France Presse, The Independent
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