June 1 The chief executive of BAE Systems
has told employees he was concerned about the impact on
Europe's biggest defence contractor if Scotland breaks away from
the United Kingdom, as a formal campaign for a Scottish
independence vote began on Friday, The Telegraph reported.
Ian King addressed the issue of uncertainty surrounding the
possibility of Scotland breaking away in an internal blog to
staff on Friday. (link.reuters.com/nyk79v)
King said that "if Scotland became independent, we would no
longer have that certainty and stability. We would then have to
talk to our major UK customer, the Ministry of Defence, and
jointly work out a plan for the future," according to the paper.
He said that Scottish independence would raise a range of
uncertainties, and added that given the many decisions that
would need to be taken by governments in Westminster and in
Scotland, he could not be specific about the implications for
BAE's business, employees, suppliers or customers.
King said the issue of pension schemes would be "especially
King said "if Scotland became independent and subsequently
joined the European Union, our pension schemes, along with many
other UK company schemes, may be caught up in EU regulations
relating to cross-border pensions.
"The reality today is we cannot say how our pension schemes
would be affected. There would be a number of possible outcomes
and we would use our consultation processes to discuss the
options," he wrote in his blog.
Polls show Scots are unlikely to vote to quit the union,
with roughly 40 percent against independence and 30 percent in
favour. But there are still enough undecideds to swing the vote.
Edinburgh-based insurer Standard Life Plc and
Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland have hinted about
moving some operations out of Scotland to protect themselves
from upheaval if Scots vote for independence.
Energy heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and Aggreko
Plc have also urged Scotland to stay in the United
Europe's biggest home improvements retailer Kingfisher Plc
joined the chorus on Saturday and said that a vote for
independence from the United Kingdom would make Scotland a less
attractive place in which to invest.
(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Eric Walsh)