Accenture to shift incorporation to Ireland

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Ltd plans to change its place of incorporation to Ireland from Bermuda, following an exodus of large multinational companies to Europe as the U.S. government plans to tighten tax rules.

Accenture said on Tuesday it does not expect any material change in its financial results or tax treatment, but said Ireland will provide economic benefits. Its board unanimously approved the move.

“A member of the European Union, Ireland offers a sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment,” Accenture Chief Executive William Green said in a statement.

A company spokesman said Accenture is also moving because of continued criticism of companies incorporated in Bermuda.

Several large companies incorporated in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are eyeing a shift to Europe in search of more favorable tax treatment and other benefits. This comes ahead of U.S. legislation aimed at tightening rules that allow firms to defer tax payments on overseas profits if earnings are plowed back into foreign subsidiaries.

Ireland is expected to benefit along with Switzerland as companies seek more hospital conditions in Europe.

Companies such as Tyco International Ltd and Tyco Electronics Ltd, Weatherford International Ltd and Foster Wheeler Ltd have also announced plans to move to incorporate in Europe.

Around 44 percent of Accenture’s revenue last quarter was from the Americas region, while 46 percent was from Europe, Middle East and Africa. The remaining 10 percent was from the Asia-Pacific region.

The company said it plans to stay registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shareholders will vote on the company’s move at meetings within the next three to four months and the company expects the move to take effect shortly after the approval.

Accenture said it has a 40-year history in Ireland, with various clients including the Irish government.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Susan Zeidler; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Anshuman Daga