VIRGIN Enterprise is to shift its domicile to Switzerland in a move that will slash its tax bill.
The company, which manages the licences to the Virgin brand name, told City A.M. the move is likely to happen “in the near future”.
The announcement will come as a blow to chancellor George Osborne, who has talked up the prospects of firms who have previously relocated returning to the UK, including advertising giant WPP.
A spokesman last night said the move will help the development of the Virgin brand internationally, especially in emerging markets.
He said: “We are considering moving our licencing entity Virgin Enterprises to Switzerland. Like many international groups we have a management presence there and this will accelerate our expansion.
“None of these prospective changes impact the very substantial Virgin branded businesses that are based and continue to operate in the UK such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media, Virgin Money and Virgin Trains.”
News of the firm’s departure came just hours after exhibitions and publishing group Informa said it would consider a move in the opposite direction after it had examined the chancellor’s proposals to reform the much-hated Controlled Foreign Companies regime, which governs the way profits earned abroad are taxed.