Asda sets sights on Ireland to cut costs
Asda, the British unit of the US retail giant Walmart, is to begin processing its online payments in Ireland to save money.
Asda, whose slogan is 'Saving You Money Everyday', confirmed it's planning to process all its online credit card payments via a new Irish subsidiary, but insisted it won't have a physical presence here.
The retailer - the UK's second-largest after Tesco - wouldn't reveal how much it will save by shifting the processing activity to Ireland, or if a third-party will be handling the transactions.
Earlier this year, Asda said that it planned to increase its online turnover to £3bn (€3.7bn) over the next five years from just over £1bn currently.
Asda generated revenue of £22.8bn (€28.7bn) in 2012, and pre-tax profits of £774m (€974m).
Asda was also sensitive that its new Irish presence wouldn't be painted as a tax-related move.
There's been US political outrage that giants such as Apple and Google can use Irish vehicles to help slash their tax bills.
The European Commission is also probing Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland.
Leeds-based Asda said the move to Ireland is a 'housekeeping' exercise, but conceded it has established a new unit here in order to cut costs.
A spokesman said she wanted to "make it clear" that Asda is UK-resident. She said the new Irish division is "about reducing the cost of processing credit card charges for online grocery shopping".
Asda's Group Financial Controller, John Fallon, and its Director of Corporate Finance, Richard Phillips, are both directors of the new Irish division, Asda Home Shopping Cards Ltd.
Sunday Indo Business