LucasVarity’s US move attacked as ‘retrograde’

Union leaders last week denounced plans by LucasVarity to move its domicile to the US and seek a listing on the New York Stock Exchange as a ‘retrograde step’. The comment came after a presentation to union representatives by senior LucasVarity executives. It also follows opposition to the plans from institutional investors in the past […]

Union leaders last week denounced plans by LucasVarity to move its domicile to the US and seek a listing on the New York Stock Exchange as a ‘retrograde step’.

The comment came after a presentation to union representatives by senior LucasVarity executives. It also follows opposition to the plans from institutional investors in the past few weeks.

Chief operating officer Tony Gilroy declined to give assurances on job security and the future of LucasVarity plants in the midlands.

But he said there would be no noticeable difference if the move went ahead.

LucasVarity has more than 50,000 employees worldwide and about 18,000 in the UK.

John Allen, a member of the AEEU executive, said: ‘The unions’ position is that there is a degree of uncertainty and it is difficult to know which way the shareholders will vote on the issue. We were told that it is now a global market and changes to the US would not make any difference. The meeting was a subdued affair.’

On Friday the company said its investors would, after all, be allowed to hold on to shares listed in London once LucasVarity moved its official headquarters to the US.

The stock exchange had originally insisted that all LucasVarity shares on the London stock market should be exchanged for US shares within 18 months of the move to a New York listing.

But the company said the exchange had lifted this time limit and agreed to allow the shares to remain on the London market indefinitely.

Shareholders will vote on the proposed move to the US on 6 November.