Marmite Owner Unilever Books Profits in Switzerland

unilever-switzerlan

Unilever has a discreet – though huge – HQ in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (outside of the EU), through which it books purchases and sales to reduce tax liability. If you didn’t already know it was there you would be hard pressed to notice the blue ‘U’ logo on an upper level window…

Guido’s co-conspirators in Switzerland say purchases are made through the Schaffhausen entity and they are fairly certain Unilever’s intellectual property brand assets take advantage of the friendly tax regime. Could it be that Unilever’s companies across the EU pay heavy royalty fees to their Swiss entity, so as much profitability as possible rolls up there and gets taxed at super-low rates. Schaffhausen is well known in Switzerland (like Zug & Geneva) for offering special sweetheart corporate tax deals that are negotiated individually. Unilever’s €urophilia and pro-Remain campaigning does not extend to its profits remaining in high-tax EU states…

UPDATE: A well informed gnome tells Guido:

The point of Unilever running the purchases through Switzerland, means that the Swiss entity then owns the raw materials (and also the finished goods – the legal/finance people will ensure this).  Then, the individual Unilever country offices around Europe have to buy these materials from Unilever in Switzerland – at hefty price, no doubt including the royalty/IP charges for the Unilever recipes which will also be owned by Switzerland.  This has the effect of moving money to Switzerland from the UK/Germany/wherever else.




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