WPP Confirms Planned Return to UK

Advertising group WPP has confirmed that it plans to move its headquarters back to the UK and will ask shareholders to vote on the proposal.

The group has been based in Dublin since 2008 following changes to the corporate tax regime introduced by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time, Alistair Darling. However, the UK’s coalition government has since removed the threat of double taxation on overseas earnings by multinational companies.

“The UK coalition government has now enacted legislation covering the taxation of foreign profits from 2013,” WPP said in a statement that accompanied its interim results.

“This will mean that, at least for the life of this government, there will be no tax cost to the group by returning its headquarters to the UK from Ireland. The decision to return to the UK has already been approved by the board and will require share owners’ consent at an emergency general meeting (EGM) planned for early December.”

Elsewhere in the report, WPP commented: “Although corporate balance sheets are much stronger than pre-Lehman and confidence is higher as a result, the eurozone, Middle East, China hard or soft landing and US deficit uncertainties demand caution.

“There is also the elephant in the room that many ignore; the growing US fiscal deficit which, with the nomination of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, looks set to be the defining issue of the 2012 US presidential campaign.”

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