Multinational, Ferrovial risks an attack of millions if it continues to move to the Netherlands

by Lorraine Williamson
Ferrovial

The coming days are crucial for the Spanish multinational Ferrovial. The company announced a move to the Netherlands in early March. Moreover, the Spanish government wants to stop this and is addressing the shareholders of the company 3 days before the final choice. 

At the beginning of March, the Spanish multinational announced that it wanted to move its headquarters from Madrid to Amsterdam in order to have more growth potential and to benefit from the financial stability in the Netherlands. This choice immediately led to great anger from the Spanish government. Ministers found the director ungrateful because the company has always been able to benefit from government investments and now wants to take advantage of possible “tax havens” outside Spain. 

Spanish government letter three days before shareholder vote 

Crucial moments are approaching as this decision will be voted on by Ferrovial’s shareholders in three days. The Spanish government is also increasing the pressure by means of a letter sent on Monday to make it clear to the shareholders’ meeting that there is no need to leave Spain. 

This is the latest move by the Spanish government to prevent the company from leaving for the Netherlands. The Spanish government does not think it is justified that the multinational has been benefiting for years from billions in government investments and that it can benefit from all kinds of favourable tax benefits ‘on the other side’, i.e. in the Netherlands. According to the government, this decision would sometimes “cost the company dearly”. 

Multinational from Spain risks a tax assessment of millions of euros 

El País wrote this Tuesday that with this choice Ferrovial risks a tax assessment of millions of euros if the Spanish tax authorities determine that the reason for moving the headquarters to the Netherlands is to obtain tax benefits. If it is determined that this is the reason for the move, there is a chance the company will not be able to claim a special regime for mergers by changing its registered office from one European Member State to another. As a result, Ferrovial risks millions of euros in tax bills. 

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In addition, on Monday, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Gonzalo García Andrés, sent a letter to Ferrovial’s CEO, Ignacio Madridejos, that the company could be listed on the New York Stock Exchange without having to move to the Netherlands. This would be one of the reasons for Ferrovial why the company wanted to move to the Netherlands. 

Ferrovial itself responds to the position and arguments of the Spanish government 

On Tuesday morning, Ferrovial itself responded to the letter from the Spanish government. The multinational said it had not changed its mind, despite threats from the government. The company will continue to advise its shareholders at the upcoming meeting on Thursday, April 13 to proceed with the move to the Netherlands. 

With this statement, Ferrovial also contradicts the statement of the Spanish Secretary of State for the Economy. According to the company, it is “today” not possible to be listed in America from Spain. “We want to increase our ability to compete in international markets and this move gives us more visibility from international investors and allows us to enjoy better financing conditions,” said Ferrovial spokesman Francisco Polo on Tuesday. 

Furthermore, Polo stated that the move to the Netherlands does not provide a tax advantage for the company and that it does not matter in this area whether the head office is located in Amsterdam or in Madrid. 

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