The unexpected announcement by the Spanish construction giant Ferrovial to move its headquarters from Madrid to The Netherlands over better tax policies prompted a storm of reactions in Spain on Thursday, with left-wing junior coalition member Unidas Podemos accusing the corporation of being “anti-patriotic”.
The decision is a big moral blow to the left-wing coalition and its continuous messages of trust and confidence in the Iberian country’s muscle to get out of the crisis in better shape compared to the 2008 banking crisis.
Ferrovial, founded in 1952 and with 82% of its core business outside Spain, based its decision on the Netherlands’ greater regulatory stability, attractive tax climate and lower cost of financing, among other economic reasons for leaving.
In a press release, the company explained Wednesday that The Netherlands has a stable legal framework, has a triple A credit rating (The Moody‘s rating for Spain is currently Baa1), and is the location of choice for large companies with a European and North American presence.
Ferrovial’s strategic move is closely watched by the market, as its success could set a precedent for other big Spanish companies with international branches, such as Telefónica and Iberdrola, among others.
It is not acceptable for a company that was founded in Spain thanks to public investment and taxpayer efforts to leave and show a lack of commitment to its native country, said Economy Minister Nadia Calviño (PSOE/S&D).
The move was also regretted by Finance Minister María Jesús Montero (PSOE/S&D), though Montero recalled that Ferrovial already pays more than 80% of its taxes outside Spain.
Montero also said that there is no risk that the investment in Spain is displaced, and that the company will continue to pay its fair share of taxes and maintain jobs in the Iberian country.
The move will not have a significant impact on Ferrovial’s operations, as it will continue to maintain its business and employment in Spain and be listed on the main selective stock market (Ibex 35), Renta 4′ expert Ángel Pérez told EFE.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)