WPP moves HQ to Ireland in tax-cut bid
Published 30/09/2008 | 00:00
The world's second biggest advertising and communications company, WPP, is to move its headquarters to Ireland in a bid to slash its tax bill.
The company wants to avoid the financial drubbing that it would have been subject to as a result of changes to British laws concerning taxation of foreign earnings, which would have caused a large hike in its tax bill as the company makes 90pc of its revenue outside of the UK.
WPP will potentially cut its tax bill in half with the move, as Ireland's 12.5pc tax rate on corporate earnings is less then half the British rate.
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said the company stood to save up to stg£80m per year through the measure.
However, the move will only result in a small Irish presence, according to a company spokesman. "The presence here will be a very, very tiny part of the operation," said Richard Oldworth of WPP. "The only physical change will be that some board meetings will be held in Dublin.
"A handful of people, probably from the financial area of the business will be based there."
The company already has affiliations in Ireland through advertising and PR companies here, but no brand presence.
WPP is the latest in a handful of companies who have take this tax avoidance step by moving their tax home out of the UK.
Media company United Business Media Plc and drug company Shire Plc both made the move earlier this year, while the world's largest provider of serviced offices, Regus Group Plc, plans to move its headquarters to Luxembourg to save on tax.
The move is likely to take place this week, said a company source.