LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s vote to leave the European Union means uncertainty for markets and companies as London initiates at least two years of negotiations with the EU.
Following are reactions from business leaders:
-- EUROPEAN AND WORLD TRADE --
ANTON BOERNER, HEAD OF GERMANY’S FOREIGN TRADE ASSOCIATION
“That is a catastrophic result for Britain and also for Europe and Germany, especially the German economy. It is disturbing that the oldest democracy in the world turns its back on us.”
MARKUS KERBER, PRESIDENT OF THE BDI GERMAN INDUSTRY FEDERATION
“We expect a significant drop in trade with Britain in the coming months.” He said the automotive, energy, telecoms, electronics, metal, retail and financial services sectors would be particularly affected.
KOSEI SHINDO, PRESIDENT OF JAPAN’S NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL
“We are greatly concerned for the negative impact this will have, not only on Britain and the EU but also on the global economy.”
THILO BRODTMANN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GERMANY’S VDMA ENGINEERING ASSOCIATION
“Brexit will hurt investor confidence in Europe as an industrial centre.”
EMMA MARCEGAGLIA, HEAD OF THE EU BUSINESS LOBBY BUSINESSEUROPE
“We call on EU member states to send a strong signal reconfirming their commitment to the European Union and its three main economic pillars: the single market, the common trade policy and the Euro. At the same time, we need to find smart solutions for an orderly Brexit process.”
GERMAN IFO ECONOMIST KLAUS WOHLRABE
“There is no reason at present to change our economic forecasts for 2016 ... A re-evaluation of the 2017 forecasts will only be possible in 2-3 months at the earliest, once the next political decisions have been made.”
CANON CEO FUJIO MITARAI
“As for the British economy, we face the danger of continued economic turmoil and stagnation amid growing inflation due to a sharp decline in the value of the pound ...
“In Japan ... the UK’s decision could also bring a halt to the economic recovery that had been under way.”
WPP CEO MARTIN SORRELL
“This decision will create tremendous uncertainty, which will slow economic activity and decision making.” Sorrell said WPP was more likely to create new jobs in France, Germany or Italy.
-- BANKING AND FINANCE --
BRITAIN’S FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY
The financial watchdog said the vote would have “significant” implications for Britain.
MARK BOLEAT, POLICY CHAIRMAN FOR THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION, LONDON’S FINANCIAL DISTRICT
“There will be no mass exit of banks and financial institutions ... The general view of the City is that the government should push for the UK to retain our access to the single market.”
SIMON LEWIS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT THE ASSOCIATION FOR FINANCIAL MARKETS IN EUROPE
“The UK’s decision to no longer continue its EU membership will shape the direction of Europe’s financial markets for years to come ... This decision will significantly affect UK-based financial services firms and their ability to serve their clients and customers across Europe.”
GOLDMAN SACHS GS.N CHAIRMAN AND CEO LLOYD BLANKFEIN
“Goldman Sachs has a long history of adapting to change, and we will work with relevant authorities as the terms of the exit become clear.”
FRENCH BANKING GROUP SOCIETE GENERALE AND ITALY’S UNICREDIT
... both said they were confident London would remain a major international financial centre.
HUW EVANS, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH INSURERS
“For the UK government, it will be important now to focus on ensuring the UK remains a globally competitive place to do business.”
-- ENERGY FIRMS --
OIL FIRM BP
“We do not currently expect it to have a significant impact on BP’s business or investments in the UK and Continental Europe, nor on the location of our headquarters or our staff.”
PETER TERIUM, CEO OF GERMAN UTILITY RWE, WHICH OWNS NPOWER IN BRITAIN
“Far more important for our success are national regulation and being accepted locally.” GERMAN UTILITY E.ON EONGn.DE
“The consequences for E.ON are manageable. Our business is Britain is local.”
JEAN-BERNARD LÉVY, CHAIRMAN OF FRENCH PUBLIC UTILITY EDF
“As of today, we believe that this vote has no impact on our strategy, and the strategy ... for our UK subsidiary has not changed.”
-- AIRLINES --
EASYJET CEO CAROLYN MCCALL “We have today written to the UK government and the European Commission to ask them to prioritise the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market, given its importance to trade and consumers.”
INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP, OWNER OF BRITISH AIRWAYS
... lowered profit forecast for this year but said the vote would not have a “long-term material impact” on its business.
BUDGET CARRIER NORWEGIAN AIR
... said Britain would remain one of its most important markets, and “ambitious plans” for growth in Britain remain unchanged.
-- CHEMICALS AND PHARMACEUTICALS --
“We will engage with all the relevant stakeholders to safeguard the competitiveness of the life sciences industry and the speed of patient access to innovative medicines.”
... said it expected no significant impact in the short term, but that it was difficult to predict the precise impact that the result would have on the life sciences industry.
MARTIN ZENTGRAF, HEAD OF THE GERMAN PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION
... said the European Medicines Agency would have to be relocated from London.
GERMAN CHEMICALS AND HEALTHCARE GROUP BAYER
“This is a heavy blow for Europe and the beginning of an uncertain time for the United Kingdom.
-- AUTOMOTIVE --
BMW GROUP BMWG.DE
“We know that many of the relevant conditions for supplying the European market will have to be renegotiated, but of course we cannot say what this means for our UK operations until those future regulatory and legislative arrangements are agreed.”
GENERAL MOTORS' GM.N EUROPEAN ARM, OPEL, WHICH MANUFACTURES VAUXHALL BRAND IN UK
“It is ... important that business continues to benefit from the free movement of goods and people during this period. We fully support the UK remaining part of the European Economic Area.”
... said it had not changed its investment plans yet, but would “take whatever action is needed to ensure that our European business remains competitive”.
PSA GROUP PEUP.PA, MAKER OF PEUGEOT AND CITROEN, WHICH HAS NO MANUFACTURING IN UK, FOLLOWING FALL IN STERLING
“Our teams are looking at different scenarios for price adjustments to our brands’ models to respond swiftly to the markets’ reaction.”
VOLKMAR DENNER, CEO OF BOSCH, WHICH EMPLOYS 5,300 PEOPLE IN UK FACTORIES
“We have significantly raised our hedging ratios in order to counteract a possible depreciation of the British pound. We currently do not have any plans to scale back our capital expenditure in the United Kingdom.”
“We would encourage policy makers to expedite the process of renegotiation from the EU and trading agreements as quickly as possible so as to return to economic normality.”
-- AEROSPACE --
THOMAS ENDERS, CEO OF EUROPEAN AEROSPACE FIRM AIRBUS AIR.PA
“This is a lose-lose result for both Britain and Europe ... We will review our UK investment strategy, like everybody else will.”
-- RETAIL --
BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM, UK RETAIL TRADE BODY
“Retailers should be prepared for the possibility of significant swings, particularly in the exchange rate and consumer confidence.”
MARKS & SPENCER MKS.L
“We will be monitoring and assessing the impact on our business as the situation evolves and engaging as and when we need to.”
-- FOOD AND DRINK MANUFACTURING --
“The practical consequences of this decision will become clearer in the coming months. We will continue to operate in the normal course and will follow developments closely.”
“It is clear that it will take several years for Britain to exit the EU and we will continue to develop our subsidiaries, our businesses in Britain.”
“It is a priority that the UK continues to benefit from open access to the EU as well as favourable international trade agreements to protect the UK’s important export industries.”
-- TELECOMS --
“It is too soon to form a view on the implications of the referendum outcome for the domicile of the Group.”
-- MEDIA --
“Irrespective of the Brexit decision, the UK, as our fourth-largest market, remains very important to us. Bertelsmann generates revenues of around 1.7 billion euros with 5,500 employees in the UK, and will continue to invest in its businesses there.”
-- PUBS --
JD Wetherspoon JDW.L founder and chairman Tim Martin:
“Anxiety about the economic effects of independence during the campaign was misplaced. The UK will thrive as an independent country, making its own laws, and we will work with our good friends and neighbours in Europe and elsewhere to ensure a positive outcome for all parties.”
-- BUILDING SERVICES --
SODEXO CEO MICHEL LANDEL
“The exit of the UK from the European Union should not have a major and direct impact on our businesses.”
Additional reporting by UK bureau; Compiled by James Davey, Martinne Geller and Kevin Liffey
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