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    Belgium, less popular as a financial haven for multinationals

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Big foreign multinationals withdrew 62 billion euros from their financing centres in Belgium in the past two years, L’Echo and De Tijd reported on Thursday. The newspapers, which stopped short of referring to a mass withdrawal, based their report on the study of the latest annual reports of the 17 biggest financing centres managed by the multinationals from Belgium.

    Seven of the 17 have already put an end to all their activities here. These include the Norwegian energy group Statkraft and its Finnish competitor Fortum.

    The groups have been repatriating their billions so as to manage them at their headquarters or transfer them to financing vehicles in countries like Ireland, Luxemburg or the Netherlands.

    Early this year, the German chemical giant BASF also announced that it intended moving its treasury centre to Ireland, which would increase the combined outflow of multinational capital from Belgium to more than 78 billion euros.

    However, the dailies said it was not yet a mass withdrawal, especially since big French groups like Carrefour, Orange, EDF and Engie, and German auto giant Volkswagen have remained faithful to Belgium.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times