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What next for Catalonia's businesses?

What next for Catalonia's businesses?
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Spain’s IBEX rebounded as the markets opened on Monday (October 9). The rise of as much as one percent came amid hopes that Catalan independence may not be imminent after Sunday’s (October 8) pro-unity protests.

Shares in Banco de Sabadell and CaixaBank are on the rise. Amid the risks associated with Catalonia’s potential secession the latter, the region’s biggest bank, is to “move its legal headquarters”: down the coast to Valencia. Sabadell, which also owns UK-based TSB moved its legal base to Alicante.

They’re two among a string of companies that have said they’ll move out of Catalonia. Foreign businesses – of which there are 1,700 in the region – are said to be considering their options. They represent one percent of all of Catalonia’s companies, 18 percent of all employment and 29 percent of turnover. Some 77.1 percent of those businesses are European and 15.4 percent are American.

In Catalonia, 14.6 percent of foreign companies are focussed on automobile and motorcycle production. Food makes up 13.5 percent and chemicals 9.4 percent.

A mass exodus could hit the region hard. Some companies, such as CaixaBank and Banco de Sabadell, are hoping to protect themselves by remaining in areas where Catalan is understood and by avoiding Madrid. There are fears that a move to Spanish capital would prompt many Catalans to withdraw their money.

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