Britain must create “the right framework for international business,” says Bunzl boss
Bunzl CEO Frank van Zanten (pictured) said the FTSE 100 company currently has no plans to move its main listing to Wall Street
Britain must create “the right environment for international business” to prevent even more companies from switching to the US stock market, the Bunzl boss warned.
Frank van Zanten said the FTSE 100 distribution and outsourcing giant has no current plans to follow companies like chip designer Arm or building materials company CRH in moving its main listing to Wall Street.
But Van Zanten, 56, said the £9billion company – which supplies everything from protective gloves and toilet paper to face masks and coffee cups – is watching developments closely.
He told the Daily Mail: “It’s not currently on the board’s agenda but we obviously want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all our stakeholders, including our shareholders.”
“So nothing planned – but we’re watching closely what’s happening.” Importantly, the government and others need to ensure the UK climate provides the right environment for international business.”
Van Zanten said that means “supporting growth, supporting the right things for the company, [being] a business-friendly environment”.
However, he didn’t elaborate on what he meant by that and whether it included tax cuts, adding, “I’m not a politician.”
Van Zanten made the comments as Bunzl reported a rise in first-half profit to £438m, while revenue rose to £5.9bn and raised his full-year guidance.
That cheered investors and shares rose 3.1 per cent, or 84p, to 2808p.
Van Zanten’s comments come at a time when the City and Whitehall are feeling remorse over the decisions of companies like Arm – which recently officially announced plans to go public in New York – to avoid the London Stock Exchange.
As part of their efforts to halt the decline, regulators have changed listing rules.
Reforms aimed at freeing up more British capital to invest in businesses are also in the pipeline.
Yesterday David Schwimmer, head of the London Stock Exchange Group, downplayed fears of the London market’s collapse.
He told the Evening Standard: “The city has an opportunity to reinvent itself. It has done so for hundreds of years.”
Bunzl, which generates 60 percent of its sales in North America, has expanded through a series of acquisitions, most recently in Poland, and now operates in 32 countries.