Luxembourg welcomes 60 finance firms because of Brexit

Buildings in the Kirchberg quarter are seen behind people standing in roman ruins in the city of Luxembourg, Luxembourg. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Luxembourg welcomes 60 finance firms because of Brexit

  • Landlocked low-tax Luxembourg, a Grand Duchy in the heart of Europe, has a reputation for financial services
  • According to accountants KPMG, Luxembourg has welcomed 65 firms owing to Brexit, ahead of Ireland on 64

LUXEMBOURG: More than 60 financial firms have moved some operations to Luxembourg to insulate themselves from the effects of Brexit, a industry group said Wednesday.
As EU lawmakers voted in Brussels to confirm Britain’s departure from the bloc, public-private agency Luxembourg for Finance released its figures.
According to the group, 60 firms “have publicly announced the relocation of activities to Luxembourg due to Brexit,” and at least ten more will do so.
“Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, Luxembourg has seen a spike in interest from firms planning for their future EU and cross-border activities,” it said.
“A further Brexit outcome has been that Luxembourg law is increasingly being chosen by international institutions active in financial markets.”
The City of London is by all measures the biggest financial center in Europe, and is likely to remain powerful after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
But the City’s ability to freely provide financial services within the remaining member states will depend on a future cross-Channel trade deal.
This will be negotiated during an 11-month transition period after Brexit, and some firms are already looking to move some or all of their business.
Landlocked low-tax Luxembourg, a Grand Duchy in the heart of Europe, has a reputation for financial services — and discreet bankers.
According to accountants KPMG, Luxembourg has welcomed 65 firms owing to Brexit, ahead of Ireland on 64 and the Netherlands and France on 30 each.
These companies include banks and their departments, insurers and stock brokers shifting operations from the City toward continental locations.
Luxembourg for Finance CEO Nicolas Mackel said the duchy would be “an EU hub for firms considering their post-Brexit plans.”


Lee’s death sparks hope for Samsung shake-up, dividends

Updated 26 October 2020

Lee’s death sparks hope for Samsung shake-up, dividends

  • Shares in the company and affiliates rise; around $9bn in tax estimated for stockholdings alone

SEOUL: Shares in Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and affiliates rose on Monday after the death a day earlier of Chairman Lee Kun-hee sparked hopes for stake sales, higher dividends and long-awaited restructuring, analysts said.

Investors are betting that the imperatives of maintaining Lee family control and paying inheritance tax — estimated at about 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) for listed stockholdings alone — will be the catalyst for change, although analysts are divided on what form that change will take.

Shares in Samsung C&T and Samsung Life Insurance closed up 13.5 percent at a two-month high and 3.8 percent, respectively, while shares in Samsung SDS also rose. Samsung Electronics — the jewel in the group’s crown — finished 0.3 percent higher.

Son and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee has a 17.3 percent stake in Samsung C&T, the de facto holding firm, while the late Lee was the top shareholder of Samsung Life with 20.76 percent stake.

“The inheritance tax is outrageous, so family members might have no choice but to sell stakes in some non-core firms” such as Samsung Life, said NH Investment Securities analyst Kim Dong-yang.

“It may be likely for Samsung C&T to consider increasing dividends for the family to cover such a high inheritance tax,” KB Securities analyst Jeong Dong-ik said. Lee, 78, died on Sunday, six years after he was hospitalized due to heart attack in 2014. Since then, Samsung carried out a flurry of stake sales and restructuring to streamline the sprawling conglomerate and cement the junior Lee’s control.

Investors have long anticipated a further shake-up in the event of Lee’s death, hoping for gains from restructuring to strengthen de facto holding company Samsung C&T’s control of Samsung Electronics, such as Samsung C&T buying an affiliate’s stake in the tech giant.

“At this point, it is difficult to expect when Samsung Group will kick off with a restructuring process as Jay Y. Lee is still facing trials, making it difficult for the group’s management to begin organizational changes,” Jeong said.

Lee is in two trials for suspected accounting fraud and stock price manipulation, as well as for his role in a bribery scandal that triggered the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The second trial resumed hearings on Monday.

Lee did not attend the trial on Monday, as Samsung executives joined other business and political leaders for the second day of funeral services for his father.