Sony prepares for no-deal Brexit with Dutch HQ register entry

Electronics manufacturer establishes new legal entity in Amsterdam to minimise Brexit disruption

Sony's Amsterdam building

Electronics giant Sony plans to merge its UK headquarters with a new facility in the Netherlands to soften the impact of a potential no-deal Brexit.

The firm has registered its European business in Amsterdam, merging it with its current operation in Weybridge in Surrey, and according to documents seen by the Telegraph, it's to be completed as soon as 29 March 2019.

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Sony said the merger was to "continue business as usual without disruption" and would not result in job losses.

"Sony Europe has established a new legal entity 'Sony Europe B.V.' in Amsterdam and will merge 'Sony Europe Ltd,' (UK) into that new entity," a spokesperson told IT Pro. "In this way, we can continue our business as usual without disruption once the UK leaves the EU."

A Sony spokesperson also confirmed that all of its existing European business functions, facilities, departments, sites and even where people are located "will remain unchanged from today."

The company is the latest tech giant to show signs of concern and take action in response to the UK's on-going negotiations to exit the EU - a situation currently in deadlock.

In October, Panasonic announced it was relocating its operations over a potential no deal outcome. The company has a major white goods manufacturing plant near Cardiff, employing some 450 people, but warned in its accounts that it was considering "pulling forward orders" as delays to Brexit could disrupt its production.

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The Japanese firm relocated some 20 managers and marketing staff and suggested its manufacturing arm could be under threat.

"We have been preparing for different scenarios in close collaboration with our customers and our supply chain," the company said in a statement. "This ensures we can continue to best serve our customers by being ready for any eventualities Brexit may bring."

With the deadline looming, Westminister is still yet to agree on a plan to exit the European Union, with Theresa May's latest plan suffering a heavy defeat. The so-called "meaningful vote" was rejected by 230 votes leaving the UK facing a potential no-deal scenario.

Business minister Richard Harrington has already said he would resign in order to stop a no deal Brexit. Speaking on the Today Programme, Harrington was asked if the prospect of no deal gave him shivers.

"It does bring more than shivers because I have examined in depth what might happen, I'm part of the government's plans for Brexit," he said.

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"I've seen what may well happen with this cut-off date. Crashing out in my view is an absolute disaster. It's not a road to a free trade agreement, it's not a road to anything. It's an absolute disaster for the country and it's supported by a minority of a minority of people."

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