Sony to move European HQ out of UK

The headquarters of electronics giant Sony is to move from the UK to the Netherlands to avoid Brexit-related disruption, according to BBC News.

The company said the move would help to avoid customs issues connected to the UK’s exit from the European Union. The company will not move personnel or operations from existing UK sites, despite the change in official HQ.

The move is the latest in a series of signals from Japanese companies that there is serious concern about the impact of Brexit on trading conditions in the UK.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concern about Brexit on a recent visit to the UK, saying it could hurt the Japanese companies that employ 150,000 people within the country.

Panasonic recently announced a similar move in HQ, but confirmed this would impact fewer than 10 of its 30 employees in the UK HQ.

Sony spokesperson Takashi Iida said the move would mean only common customs procedures would be required for Sony’s European operations following Brexit.

Japanese firms MUFG, Nomura Holdings, Daiwa Securities and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have also said they plan to move their European headquarters away from the UK to set up in mainland Europe.

Carmakers Toyota and Honda have also announced plans to freeze investment or operations in the UK due to Brexit.

Kingwell to take 51% in Russian gold mine operator

Hong Kong-based electronics firm Kingwell Group Ltd (HKG:1195) announced it had agreed to buy for $13m (€10.4m) a 51% stake in Russian firm Zolotoy Standart, the operator and owner of a gold mine in Russia’s Amur area.

The transaction is in line with the buyer’s recently unveiled plan to evaluate business opportunities within the natural resources and mining sectors as the performance of its electronics business is weakening. Zolotoy Standart holds the exploitation license for a gold mine in Amur’s Zeyskiy region, whose value is at least $19m, according to Kingwell.

As part of the plan, Kingwell is to subscribe for newly issued shares in Zolotoy Standart’s 100% parent company Commerce Prosper Ltd, giving it a 25.5% interest in the company. It is also to buy a 25.5% stake in Commerce Prosper from shareholder Araik Khachatryan. Both transactions will be funded with avalable cash, bank borrowings and the issues of convertible notes, Kingwell said. Commerce Prosper is to use part of the proceeds for general working capital needs, such as the establishment of exploitation and production facilities.

Furthermore, Kingwell will get an irrevocable option to take an additional 14% interest in the target company for $2.66m. The option can be exercised after the first and before the fifth anniversary of the current acquisition deal.