After Unilever, which last month chose London as its headquarters, Shell also hinted at FD last weekend about a possible move of the head office to the UK. Anglo-Dutch software group RELX did indeed make this choice two years ago, and for Shell the main pain point is that the profit tax abolition is over.
In some British newspapers, news about Shell and Unilever was celebrated as a victory – thanks to or in spite of Brexit – with headlines like Fix the rest In Express and London can accept Unilever’s decision In the de Financial Times.
What does this say about the business climate in the Netherlands?
One leg in the UK
“We seem to be pressing the head offices across borders with annoying letters and financial measures that put us at a disadvantage. Other countries are taking over these companies,” says Hans de Boer, president of VNO-NCW.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs just wants to say the following: “The good business climate for companies, as well as for companies operating internationally such as Shell, is of great importance for the Dutch economy. The government is taking indications about this seriously. We also regularly discuss this with many companies. “
But according to tax law professor Jan van de Strick, this doesn’t say much about the general business climate in the Netherlands. “Unilever and Shell both already have their feet in the UK. Then you will continue to have your DNA problem, whether it’s Dutch or British. As for other companies in the Netherlands, I don’t see any major hurdles in our tax system to stay here.”
Harm Jean de Clover, professor of corporate law, doesn’t see this as an introduction either. “Shell is really an English company, and its head office is in the Netherlands. It was different at Unilever, they have a British and Dutch company. And it’s basically the same thing: they are partly British. Then obviously .. the question that arises is which country you choose for sure. .