Italy's antitrust complains of 'economic damage' from FCA move to London

FILE PHOTO: A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) sign is seen at its U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - The decision by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to move its financial and legal offices out of Italy has caused major damage to Italian tax revenues, the national competition watchdog said on Tuesday.

In an annual report to parliament, Antitrust head Roberto Rustichelli complained about "the significant economic loss of state revenues" caused by FCA moving its fiscal headquarters to London and its parent Exor EXOR.MI relocating its legal and tax office to the Netherlands.

“Italy is one of the most penalized countries,” from fiscal competition, Rustichelli said.

The overall annual cost of such moves is between $5-$8 billion for Italy, Rustichelli said, mentioning Britain, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg as among the countries practicing unfair tax competition.

The comments come at a delicate juncture as more companies have recently announced plans to follow in FCA’s footsteps.

Italian broadcaster Mediaset MS.MI - controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - wants to relocate its legal headquarters to Amsterdam to support its pan-European growth strategy.

Italian cement maker Cementir CEMI.MI has also announced the transfer of its registered offices to the Netherlands.

It was former FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, who died in 2018, who decided to transfer the historic Italian car brand, cementing a politically sensitive shift away from the country, Fiat’s home for more than a century.

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri; editing by Keith Weir