Your Move: Spain Looks to Entice Brexit Leavers

Spain is offering an alternative to disillusioned companies looking to leave the UK in the wake of Brexit and is in good shape to receive them.

This could take the form of a charm offensive as Spain extols its own virtues ahead of other countries that are also making their own overtures to British based companies post Brexit.

A plan to woo UK-based companies is being promoted by leading UK-based real estate consulting firms with a strong UK presence. These include Aguirre Newman, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, Knight Frank and Savillis. All of them are part of ACI, The Association of Real Estate Consultants (La Asociación de Consultores de Inmobiliarias in Spanish). The organization is currently focusing on London based companies to ensure Spain is on their radar should they start thinking about moving away from there.

The ACI believes that Spain “meets all the necessary characteristics” to welcome and attract companies from the UK, or any other country, that may be looking to relocate their headquarters.

Invest Madrid is set to be a major player in the operation. Led by economist Daniel Lacalle, it has held over 50 meetings with corporations, banks and investment funds with Lacalle saying, ‘The reception [has been] very positive.’ Without giving names, he also says many of the interested parties are prominent entities in the financial sector.

He continues, ‘We have detected a lot of companies and funds that are explicitly interested in moving part or all of their business.’ Over the next two years, the Community of Madrid and the Chamber of Commerce could make up to one million euros available to assist the project. This may be done through its London office.

THE BENEFITS

Madrid is in good shape to receive relocating offices as it believed that more than 10 per cent of its office space is available, totaling over 12 million square meters – equivalent to nearly 2000 soccer pitches. There are also more than 200,000 square meters of new projects under construction which are expected to be ready at varying stages of 2017. And this office space, despite recent price increases leading to great generated revenues, is still cheaper per square meter than much of what’s available in other major European cities.

In terms of residential rents, purchasing power and shopping, Madrid also has a lower cost of living than many similar cities including Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan.

Barcelona could be another attractive alternative with almost six million square meters available representing a rate of nine per cent of its office real estate.

OTHER ROUTES

Of course Spain isn’t expected to have it all its own way as other countries are also awake to the possibilities of the changing post Brexit market. Indeed, the secretary general of the Financial Markets Authority recently told the BBC that some major international London based banks have begun looking at moving some operations to Paris.

Frankfurt is also a major player. Goldman Sachs, which concentrates its European market movements in London, is considering moving some of its offices there.

However, with debates very much ongoing, all of this is still very much up in the air and the UK is still not yet sure how it will disengage itself from Europe. Former UK ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, recently said the negotiations would be a ‘humungous task.’ He added that it could end up being an ‘unprecedentedly large negotiation on a scale we haven’t experienced probably ever and certainly not since the Second World War.’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May originally wanted to trigger Article 50, to start the process, in March of this year. But it’s looking increasingly likely this date will be delayed with yet further negotiations expected to follow the event.

For more information, please contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

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