The chief executive of Philips (PHG.AS) says he is worried about the lack of progress on a deal over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union, and warns that a no-deal Brexit would jeopardise the country’s position as a manufacturing hub.
Philips’ main exporting plant in England is at Glemsford, where Van Houten says he would expect production to fall in case of a “hard” or no-deal Brexit.
“We are looking at a customs union as a minimum (requirement) for a negotiated Brexit," Van Houten says. “If that were not to happen we would need to rethink our manufacturing footprint.”
“As time passes and there is no solution I get increasingly worried that hereafter frictionless
trade between the United Kingdom and European mainland could be at risk,” Frans van Houten concludes, after the company has posted worse-than-expected third-quarter earnings. “Basically the UK as a manufacturing hub for the world would be at risk."