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Keep calm and carry on? We're struggling, say German firms in UK

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By Reuters
Keep calm and carry on? We're struggling, say German firms in UK
A pro-Brexit supporter holds a placard outside the Houses of Parliament, following the Brexit votes the previous evening, in London, Britain, March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis   -   Copyright  ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS(Reuters)

BERLIN (Reuters) – Almost half of German firms doing business in Britain are unprepared for Brexit because they don’t know what form Britain’s planned departure from the European Union will take, a survey showed on Thursday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to sway hardline opponents of her EU divorce deal on Wednesday with an offer to quit, but parliament’s bid to agree an alternative fell short, leaving the Brexit process as deadlocked as ever.

“Our motto, ‘stay cool, calm and collected’ is being sorely tested at the moment,” Michael Schmidt, president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany (BCCG), told reporters in Berlin.

A BCCG poll of 101 German firms doing business in Britain, and British companies with activity in Germany, showed 47 percent were unprepared for Brexit.

“That’s scary, certainly. It reflects the uncertainties because today all scenarios are still on the table, which is difficult for companies to prepare for,” said Andreas Glunz, managing partner at KPMG, which conducted the survey with BCCG.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, 13 percent of the surveyed firms planned to relocate operations from Britain to Germany. A further 10 percent planned to shift business to other countries in continental Europe.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Catherine Evans)