Corporate Brexodus Begins as “No-Deal” Brexit Looms

Potential for ugly consequences, intended or otherwise, is rising.

Construction and infrastructure giant Ferrovial has announced it is moving its international HQ from the UK to low-tax haven Amsterdam because of Brexit. The Spanish firm, which owns a quarter of the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, and runs its US, Canadian, Polish and UK operations from Oxford, says it needs to keep within EU legislation after the UK leaves the EU.

Airbus issued a stark warning at the end of last week that it may also consider abandoning the UK over Brexit, its strongest alert yet over the potential impact of Britain’s departure from the EU. A withdrawal without a deal would force it to reconsider its long-term position, potentially putting thousands of British jobs at risk, it said.

At the same time investment in Britain’s car industry has shrunk by half to the lowest figure since the financial crisis, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT). In the first six months of 2018 investment in new models and factory improvements clocked in at £347.3 million, compared to £647.4 for the same period in 2017. BMW has warned that it will close all its UK plants in the event of a hard Brexit.

What companies, both domestic and foreign, want is greater clarity regarding the UK’s future relations with the EU as the cut-off date for reaching a preliminary agreement on Brexit terms grows ever closer. “Exit” day is scheduled to begin on March 29, 2019, at 11 p.m. GMT. That’s 274 days away, and there’s scant sign of any progress on key sticking points such as the Northern Ireland border, the so-called “passporting” of UK financial services, and a future aviation agreement between the UK and the EU

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