Monday, May 29, 2023
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​More than 3000 companies have left Catalonia after the referendum

The companies that have moved their headquarters in Catalonia to other regions of Spain since the referendum on October 1 already number more than 3,000, according to data from the College of Registrars of Spain.


The argument put forward by most of the companies that have left is that the change of address or headquarters is a strategic move to protect the interests of its shareholders, customers and employees.

Additionally, according to Tax Agency data, although the change of address does not necessarily have to be accompanied by a change of fiscal domicile, until the first days of November, about 1,000 companies had moved their fiscal headquarters in Catalonia to other communities such as Madrid, Aragón and Valencia.

Of these companies that moved their headquarters outside of Catalonia, 62 of them have a direct impact on GDP of 11,540 million Euros, representing 5.4% of the Catalonian economy and 1% of the Spanish economy as a whole.

These companies include six out of the seven Catalonian Ibex-35-listed companies: Banco Sabadell, Gas Natural Fenosa, CaixaBank, Abertis, Cellnex and Colonial. 

In addition, within the Continuous Market, there are already seven companies that have moved their headquarters, such as: Oryzon, Dogi, Service Point, Catalana Occidente, eDreams, Applus and Cementos Molins.

The biotechnology company Oryzon Genomics was the first company to announce that it was leaving Catalonia for Madrid after the 1st October referendum. Also, the telecommunications operator Eurona, which is listed on the Alternative Stock Market (MAB). This decision to move from Poblenou (Barcelona) to Rivas-Vaciamadrid (Madrid) was, according to the company, a strategic move to continue its internationalization. The dental distributor Proclinic Expert moved from L'Hospitalet de Llobregat to Zaragoza. This unlisted company, which has a turnover close to 100 million Euros, did not explain the reason for its decision.


However, the real alarm over the flight of companies in Catalonia was triggered when the Sabadell Bank called an extraordinary board meeting, to discuss the possibility of leaving the Catalonian community, and decided to move to Alicante.

As for its part, Dogi the Catalonian textile company presided by Eduardo Navarro, agreed to move to Madrid with the objective of "optimizing its operations and the relationship with its investors".

The exit of Sabadell Bank from Catalonia was reinforced by another large bank, CaixaBank, before the increase in uncertainty generated by the threat of a UDI. 

In an extraordinary meeting, its board of directors approved moving its headquarters to Valencia, a decision taken to protect "its customers, shareholders and employees".

Service Point decided to move its registered office to Madrid and Banco Mediolanum, owned by the Italian Banking Group Mediolanum, to Valencia to ensure a stable framework for undertaking its activity, always within the scope of supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The governing board of Arquia Banca also chose the capital of Spain, since it already counted on this city for its general sub-directorate of Finance of the group and the management of Private Banking. Like the Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona (AGBAR), chaired by Ángel Simón, to combat the situation of uncertainty and legal uncertainty that has arisen in Catalonia. The company is a 100% subsidiary of the French Suez group and is considered to be the leader in the of drinking water distribution sector in Spain.

The Copasa construction company moved the headquarters of its environmental subsidiary PESA located in Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela. Additionally, the fast courier company MRW, controlled by the Corrales family, decided to settle in Valencia. This is a company that invoiced 161 million Euros in 2015 and had a profit of 8 million.

The securities company GVC Gaesco, owned by the Vallvé family, also decided to move its headquarters to Madrid. The company sent a letter to its network of financial agents to inform them of this change of address.

The brewery owned by the Mahou-San Miguel group moved its headquarters from Barcelona to Malaga, where it has had a production centre for more than 50 years. 

The insurer Catalana Occidente, which is ranked sixth in the sector for premiums and has more than 150 years of history, moved from Sant del Vallés to Madrid, specifically Paseo de la Castellana No. 4, where it already has offices and where its subsidiary Atradius is based.


After Puigdemont's discourse, the next company to announce their departure from Catalonia was AXA Spain. The insurer has approved the change of registered office of the Axa Vida and Axa Pensiones de Barcelona entities to Bilbao. While Bimbo's board of directors agreed to go to Madrid, from where the group already manages its European, Africa and Asia operations, to maintain "the necessary legal security to continue working normally".

Idilia Foods, the company that owns Cola Cao and Nocilla, chose to move their headquarters to Valencia. Additionally, one of the most emblematic and oldest family company in the country, Codorníu -established in 1551- has also moved its headquarters from Sant Sadurní d'Anoia (Barcelona) to La Rioja, "given the situation of political and legal uncertainty in which Catalonia finds itself engulfed, and with the objective of guaranteeing the interests of our workers and clients". Codorníu has repeatedly recognized that it is considered itself both a "Catalonian and also Spanish" company, and has regretted that on occasion, it has been linked to the independence movement.

Ordesa Laboratories, which sells Blemit and Blevit baby food products in pharmacies, among other brands, opted for Huesca, where the company owned by the Ventura family has its origins.

The hotel chain Hotusa, founded in 1977, which has become the largest Catalonian chain with a turnover of 955 million Euros in 2015, a staff of about 4,000 workers and more than 150 hotels, flew away to take refuge in Madrid.

Also the company of Italian origin Neumáticos Pirelli (Tyres), which invoices around 105 million Euros, has moved its headquarters from l'Hospitalet de Llobregat to Valencia. and even the most popular lottery in Catalonia, the owner of La Bruixa d'Or, Xavier Gabriel, has moved their headquarters for all their lottery, catering and real estate businesses from Catalonia to Navarre.



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