Tyco electronics to move to Switzerland
Companies relocate offshore offices from Bermuda to Switzerland amid financial crisis.SAN JUAN — Bermuda is increasing efforts to maintain its position as a leading offshore business centre after several major companies announced plans to move to Europe, the mid-Atlantic British enclave's finance minister said Wednesday.
Finance Minister Paula Cox said the territory is strengthening corporate outreach and pursuing legislative reform to compete with rivals such as Switzerland that are determined to attract Bermuda-based corporate offices amid the global financial crisis and fears of tighter tax rules.
"Many jurisdictions with similar qualities to Bermuda are vying for existing and new business in these uncertain times", Cox told The Associated Press. "While there are perceptions that other jurisdictions offer preferential tax treatment, the Bermuda model is still one that continues to maintain its position in the upper echelon of the world's top reinsurance centers."
But she did not give specific details on possible measures to stem corporate flight from the 66,000-person territory, which relies on international business as a critical source of foreign exchange along with reinsurance and tourism.
Cox's comments came in an e-mail shortly after Tyco Electronics Ltd, which makes electronic components and undersea telecommunications systems, announced its board approved a proposed change of incorporation to Switzerland.
"Switzerland has a stable political, economic and regulatory environment, as well as long-established commercial relationships and tax treaties with other countries", CEO Tom Lynch said. Tyco intends to make the switch as soon as possible, pending shareholder approval.
Since December, several big US-owned companies based in Bermuda, a low-tax haven where thousands of international companies operated since the 1980s, announced they planned to switch their place of incorporation to Europe.
Engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler Ltd said 10 December it planned to reincorporate in Switzerland, which has a tax treaty with the US, for tax and other reasons. Later in December, health care products company Covidien Ltd announced it was moving to Ireland.
[AP / Expatica]