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Codorníu reveals plans to move HQ from Catalonia to Rioja

Published:  17 October, 2017

Spanish wine and cava giant Codorníu has announced it is moving its holding company’s headquarters from Catalonia to Rioja over the "uncertainty" surrounding the political conflict between Spain and Catalonia.  

Codorníu, based in Barcelona, said in a statement it had made the decision to move Unideco - its holding company, out of Catalonia in order to "guarantee the interests of its clients and employees in light of the political and legal uncertainty in Catalonia”.

Codorníu’s move follows the announcement by Freixenet earlier this month that it too was considering moving its HQ out of Catalonia.

On October 6th this year, the Spanish government approved legislation to fast-track the move of corporate HQ's out of Catalonia, by doing away with a legal requirement for shareholders to vote on such matters. Between them, the two companies account for about 80% of the 240 million bottles of cava made in Spain.

Other smaller wine and cava companies have said they will stay in Catalonia, with some having voiced support for independence.

However, the Catalan government’s moves towards the establishment of an independent republic within the EU have come under pressure, with numerous large companies and banks moving their headquarters out of the region in recent weeks.

Speaking to Harpers, a Codorníu spokesman denied the decision to move its HQ had been made for political reasons.

“We do not do politics, we sell wine and this is about providing legal certainty for our company and employees,” he said.

Codorníu confirmed that employees, offices and Codorniu’s structural operations in Catalonia would remain unchanged in the region.

Codorniu’s decision comes after the Spanish government said yesterday that it had given the Catalan government until Thursday to renounce its quest to create the Republic of Catalonia, or it would suspend Catalonia’s home rule and aim to call regional elections.

The threat follows the call by Catalonia’s government on Monday for dialogue without conditions with the Spanish government.

The Spanish government, however, has said it would only dialogue with the Catalan government if it renounces its claim to independence.

Codorniu’s move comes amid growing threats of a boycott against Catalan products from other parts of Spain, which first emerged in the run-up to the Catalan government’s independence referendum held 1 October this year.

Some Catalan wine producers have in the past said they benefitted from a previous boycott in 2005 against Catalan products, which forced them to increase exports out of Spain.

Established in 1551, Codorniu has vineyards in Spain, Argentina and California and in Rioja it operates under its majority-owned subsidiary Bodegas Bilbainas.