France’s Total Plans to Shift Treasury to London

French oil group Total plans to move its corporate treasury department from Paris to London to get closer to analysts covering the company and raise its profile with investors, according to a Reuters report that quoted a spokesman for the group.

The spokesman was confirming an earlier report by investigative website Mediapart that said Total is discussing moving 60 staff from the treasury department to London as well as about 10 people in charge of communications.

“It’s currently under discussion with social partners, trade unions,” the spokesman told Reuters. “It would concern 60 to 70 people, maximum 70 people, out of the group’s 100,000 staff.

“The idea is to get closer to London, which is the oil trading and financial centre of Europe to allow the group to improve its international visibility.”

Corporate treasurer Humbert de Wendel and financial communications head Martin Deffontaines would move to London but chief financial officer (CFO) Patrick de La Chevardiere would remain in Paris, the spokesman said.

Reuters commented that the move will not find favour with the Socialist government of president Francois Hollande, whose campaign pledges to raise taxes on the rich had infuriated some of France’s business figures and prompted threats that some high earners would depart the country in protest.

“Total pays and will continue to pay its taxes in France,” the group spokesman said, adding that the group had paid €1.2bn in taxes to the French treasury in 2012.

The executive committee will stay in Paris and no other departments are set to move, the spokesman said, adding that the plan will not take place before the end of the year.

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