Wolseley plc, the builders and plumbers merchant group, is to create a new holding company to take advantage of a softer Swiss tax regime.
The restructuring proposals will create a new Group holding company (New Wolseley) which will be UK listed, incorporated in Jersey but with tax residence in Switzerland. It’s a move that will cut Wolseley’s tax rate from 34% TO 28%.
The Government is reviewing the system where tax is imposed on overseas earnings but chief executive Ian Meakins says that any change will not happen soon enough.
Meakins said that he had a duty to shareholders to maximise returns. None of Wolseley’s,10,000 strong UK workforce will move abroad.
New Wolseley will have the same Board and management team as Wolseley on the date that the Scheme becomes effective. It will have the same business and operations as the current Group has and will not result in any changes in the day-to-day operations of the business of the Group or its strategy.
The move is likely to cost £6m.