Wolseley aims to save tax with Swiss move

The world's largest plumbing and heating products supplier, Wolseley, has announced plans to move its tax status to Switzerland to save money.

This content was published on September 27, 2010 minutes
swissinfo and agencies

It is the latest in a growing number of firms to leave their British base in search of tax savings.

The firm said on Monday it would create a new group holding company, New Wolseley, that will be listed in Britain, incorporated in Jersey and with Swiss tax residency.

“Our underlying tax rate has now moved up to 34 per cent. By redomiciling to Switzerland that tax rate will come down to about 28 per cent,” chief executive Ian Meakins said after Wolseley announced the move, which is subject to shareholder approval.

Chief Financial Officer John Martin said if Wolseley were already domiciled in Switzerland it would have saved £23 million (SFr35.85 million) in the year to July 31.

He blamed Britain's controlled foreign companies (CFC) tax regime, which applies British tax on overseas earnings, on the decision to switch.

British business media group Informa moved its tax base to Switzerland earlier this year.

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