Breaking: Codorníu to move HQ to Rioja

Cava producer Codorníu is to move its company headquarters out of Catalonia to Rioja due to the lingering uncertainty over the former’s claims to independence and Freixenet has suggested it may do likewise.

According to numerous reports in the Spanish press, the board of directors of Unideco, the parent company of Codorníu Raventós, has approved the transfer to Haro in La Rioja, where it also owns Viña Pomal, saying in a statement that the decision was based on, “the political and legal uncertainty in which Catalonia is plunged and with the aim of guaranteeing the interest of its workers and customers.”

It also clarified in a statement that: “The company will maintain its current operating structure across its production facilities and warehouses, as well as all of the jobs in work centres.”

Nonetheless, the company has been based in the town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia in Alt Penedès in its entirety since 1551 and the decision to move its headquarters out of Catalonia is just the latest in a string of such announcements with major banks Sabadell and Caixa having done likewise earlier this month and more companies are expect to follow suit.

After holding a referendum declared unconstitutional by the Spanish state, Catalonia’s separatist movement looked as though it was on the verge of declaring full independence earlier this month.

The president of the Catalonian generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, did in fact seem to announce independence last week only to almost instantly withdraw it and call for renewed discussions with the Spanish state.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, gave Puigdemont until this Thursday to clarify his position on independence or risk Catalonia being stripped of its autonomous governing rights.

The current uncertainty surrounding Catalonia’s status is clearly causing some big wineries no small measure of concern, even though cava, as a wine of Denominación de Origen, is federally managed.

It was also noted in the Financial Times this week that Cava’s other big producer, Freixenet, is also considering moving its headquarters if independence went ahead.

Chief executive José Luis Bonet said the company, “cannot run the risk of being outside the European Union,” as it would no doubt mean a “loss of competitiveness.”

“Businesses need legal certainty and we do not have it right now,” he said.

The ability to move headquarters around (including back to Catalonia if necessary) has been facilitated by a recent law passed by the Spanish government designed to allow businesses unsure of the outcome of Catalonian independence to transfer their company headquarters to other parts of Spain.

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