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Catalan Minister for Business and Labour denies companies are leaving Catalonia

Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig has denied that companies are withdrawing from Catalonia or moving their tax base to other parts of Spain due to the Catalan political process. On the contrary, Puig pointed out, more companies are leaving Madrid to set up their tax base in other Autonomous Communities. He went on to claim that "an orchestrated campaign with distorted data" has been carried out to induce "fear" in companies, investors and the whole of the Catalan citizenry. Puig also emphasised that some of the companies which have changed their tax base have kept the business and the production within Catalonia and noted the 281% rise in foreign investment in Catalonia. 

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27 November 2015 08:31 PM

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ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia's push for independence is not provoking a company drain in the territory.Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig has denied that companies are leaving or moving their tax base to other parts of Spain due to the Catalan political process, on the contrary, he pointed out, more companies are leaving Madrid to set up their tax base in other Autonomous Communities. Puig attributed such "false" statements to "an orchestrated campaign with distorted data" that he claimed has been carried out to induce "fear" in companies, investors and the whole of the Catalan citizenry. He also emphasised that some of the companies which have changed their tax base have kept the business and the production within Catalonia and noted the 281% rise in foreign investment in Catalonia. 


At the closing of an event organised by the main Catalan small- and medium-sized enterprises association, PIMEC, Puig recalled that in 2014 a total of 987 companies moved their tax base away from Catalonia, which represented 0.38% of the total. On the other hand, nearly 1,400 firms relocated their financial headquarters from Madrid during the same period. "Without any process for sovereignty underway, more companies are leaving from Madrid than Barcelona" he said, and added that some of the companies which have changed their tax base have kept the business and the production within Catalonia. “Why is the emphasis on the companies that have moved their financial headquarters from Catalonia and not on those that did so from Madrid?” he asked.

Puig attributed such "false" statements to "an orchestrated campaign with distorted data" that he claims has been carried out to induce "fear" in companies, investors and the whole of the Catalan citizenry.

Fiscal reasons behind most of the companies' moves

Puig noted that some of the companies which have moved their tax base to other parts of Spain look for a "more favourable tax policy" or because they are attracted by "Madrid's capital status effect". According to Puig fiscal reasons have always been an important cause of companies changing their tax base. In this sense, he noted that pharmaceutical firm Pfizer recently changed its tax base from New York to Dublin and the Catalan company Grífols, which has also moved to Ireland.

Record foreign investment

The Catalan Minister also pointed out the recovery of the Catalan economy and forecast more than 3% growth for 2015. Puig also announced that "there will be good news soon" regarding the investment of a big multinational company and that "two new operations to be carried out in the Barcelona area will soon be announced". He also explained that the "important investments" carried out in the chemical plant in the Tarragona region, in the south of Catalonia "could be extended into the next year". He also celebrated Nestlé's investment to set up a plant in Girona (in the north of Catalonia) for the production of their Dolce Gusto products, as well as Easyjet’s announcement to move their operating base from Madrid to Barcelona next year in order "to be more competitive".

In fact, Catalonia is performing very well in attracting foreign investment. During the first half of 2015, Catalonia attracted 1.959 billion euros, which represents a remarkable increase of 281.2 per cent in comparison to the same period last year, when investment amounted to 515 million euros.We have grown more than ever and we have become a point of reference in Europe” stated Puig. During the first trimester of 2015, Catalonia was the leading region in Continental Western Europe in terms of investment, both in total amount of investment attracted and jobs generated. The growth registered in Catalonia is much higher than the Spanish average; foreign investment in Spain in the second trimester of 2015 was only 73% higher than that recorded during the same period last year. “These results show the world how diversified and solid our economy is” emphasised Puig.

Cercle d'Economia and Hoteliers warnings

Earlier in the week, president of Barcelona's Hoteliers' Professional Association and Derby Hotels director Jordi Clos announced his decision to move the company to Madrid. The decision was controversial due to the reputation of Clos in the tourism and hotel sector (he is the vice-president of Turisme de Barcelona and a member of the Administrative Board of Fira de Barcelona). However, Clos himself denied that the reason for moving the headquarters of Derby Hotels was political and pointed to the "fiscal treatment" that Madrid has to offer.

In the same vein, the Cercle d’Economia, the main Catalan economic forum open to businesspeople and academics, warned that “from the first minute” after the independence declaration was approved “there have been negative effects on business decisions regarding investment and location of corporate headquarters in Catalonia”. The Cercle d’Economia's President, Anton Costas, called for a combination of democracy and remaining within the EU as “the most productive way to generate wealth and social progress”.

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  • Catalan SME's association PIMEC's president, Josep González and Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig (by ACN)

  • Catalan SME's association PIMEC's president, Josep González and Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig (by ACN)