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Factbox: Business reaction to Britain’s decision to leave the EU

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s vote to leave the European Union means uncertainty for markets and companies as London initiates at least two years of negotiations with the EU.

Following are the initial reactions from business leaders:

— EUROPEAN TRADE —

ANTON BOERNER, HEAD OF GERMANY’S FOREIGN TRADE ASSOCIATION

“That is a catastrophic result for Britain and also for Europe and Germany, especially the German economy. It is disturbing that the oldest democracy in the world turns its back on us.”

MARKUS KERBER, PRESIDENT OF THE BDI GERMAN INDUSTRY FEDERATION

“We expect a significant drop in trade with Britain in the coming months.” He said the automotive, energy, telecoms, electronics, metal, retail and financial services sectors would be particularly affected.

THILO BRODTMANN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GERMANY’S VDMA ENGINEERING ASSOCIATION

“Brexit will hurt investor confidence in Europe as an industrial center.”

EMMA MARCEGAGLIA, HEAD OF THE EU BUSINESS LOBBY BUSINESS EUROPE

“We call on EU member states to send a strong signal reconfirming their commitment to the European Union and its three main economic pillars: the single market, the common trade policy and the Euro. At the same time, we need to find smart solutions for an orderly Brexit process.”

GERMAN IFO ECONOMIST KLAUS WOHLRABE

“There is no reason at present to change our economic forecasts for 2016 … A re-evaluation of the 2017 forecasts will only be possible in 2-3 months at the earliest, once the next political decisions have been made.”

— BANKING AND FINANCE —

BRITAIN’S FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY

The financial watchdog said the vote would have “significant” implications for Britain.

MARK BOLEAT, POLICY CHAIRMAN FOR THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION, LONDON’S FINANCIAL DISTRICT

“There will be no mass exit of banks and financial institutions … The general view of the City is that the government should push for the UK to retain our access to the single market.”

GOLDMAN SACHS CHAIRMAN AND CEO LLOYD BLANKFEIN

“Goldman Sachs has a long history of adapting to change, and we will work with relevant authorities as the terms of the exit become clear. Our primary focus, as always, remains serving our clients’ needs.”

FRENCH BANKING GROUP SOCIETE GENERALE

“London will remain a major international financial center.”

ITALY’S UNICREDIT

… said it was confident that London would remain a worldwide financial center.

HUW EVANS, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH INSURERS

“For the UK government, it will be important now to focus on ensuring the UK remains a globally competitive place to do business.”

— ENERGY FIRMS —

OIL FIRM BP

“We do not currently expect it to have a significant impact on BP’s business or investments in the UK and Continental Europe, nor on the location of our headquarters or our staff.”

PETER TERIUM, CEO OF GERMAN UTILITY RWE, WHICH OWNS NPOWER IN BRITAIN

“Far more important for our success are national regulation and being accepted locally.”

GERMAN UTILITY E.ON

“The consequences for E.ON are manageable. Our business is Britain is local.”

— AIRLINES —

EASYJET CEO CAROLYN MCCALL    “We have today written to the UK government and the European Commission to ask them to prioritize the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market, given its importance to trade and consumers.”

INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP, OWNER OF BRITISH AIRWAYS

… lowered profit forecast for this year but said vote would not have a “long-term material impact” on its business

BUDGET CARRIER NORWEGIAN AIR

… says Britain will remain one of its most important markets, and “ambitious plans” for growth in Britain remain unchanged.

— ADVERTISING —

WPP CEO MARTIN SORRELL

“This decision will create tremendous uncertainty, which will slow economic activity and decision making.”

— CHEMICALS AND PHARMACEUTICALS —

ASTRAZENECA

“We will engage with all the relevant stakeholders to safeguard the competitiveness of the life sciences industry and the speed of patient access to innovative medicines.”

NOVARTIS

… says it expects no significant impact in the short term, as the mechanisms and measures for the exit still must be defined, but that it is difficult to predict the precise impact that the result will have on the life sciences industry.

MARTIN ZENTGRAF, HEAD OF THE GERMAN PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION

… said the European Medicines Agency would have to be relocated from London.

GERMAN CHEMICALS AND HEALTHCARE GROUP BAYER

“This is a heavy blow for Europe and the beginning of an uncertain time for the United Kingdom.

— AUTOMOTIVE —

BMW GROUP

“We know that many of the relevant conditions for supplying the European market will have to be renegotiated, but of course we cannot say what this means for our UK operations until those future regulatory and legislative arrangements are agreed.”

GENERAL MOTORS’ EUROPEAN ARM, OPEL, WHICH MANUFACTURES VAUXHALL BRAND IN UK

“It is also important that business continues to benefit from the free movement of goods and people during this period. We fully support the UK remaining part of the European Economic Area.”

PSA GROUP, MAKER OF PEUGEOT AND CITROEN, WHICH HAS NO MANUFACTURING IN UK, FOLLOWING FALL IN STERLING

“Our teams are looking at different scenarios for price adjustments to our brands’ models to respond swiftly to the markets’ reaction.”

— AEROSPACE —

TOM ENDERS, CEO OF EUROPEAN AEROSPACE FIRM AIRBUS

“I hope the divorce will proceed with a view to minimizing economic damage to all impacted by Brexit. Britain will suffer but I’m sure it will focus even more now on the competitiveness of its economy vis-a-vis the EU and the world at large.”

— RETAIL —

BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM, UK RETAIL TRADE BODY

“Retailers should be prepared for the possibility of significant swings, particularly in the exchange rate and consumer confidence.”

MARKS & SPENCER

“We will be monitoring and assessing the impact on our business as the situation evolves and engaging as and when we need to.”

— FOOD MANUFACTURING —

NESTLE

“The practical consequences of this decision will become clearer in the coming months. We will continue to operate in the normal course and will follow developments closely.”

— TELECOMS —

VODAFONE

“It is too soon to form a view on the implications of the referendum outcome for the domicile of the Group.”

— PUBS —

JD Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin:

“Anxiety about the economic effects of independence during the campaign was misplaced. The UK will thrive as an independent country, making its own laws, and we will work with our good friends and neighbors in Europe and elsewhere to ensure a positive outcome for all parties.”

— REAL ESTATE —

BRITISH PROPERTY INVESTOR RICHARD TICE, LEADING FIGURE IN THE “LEAVE” CAMPAIGN

“There is huge joy, delight and pride. We have changed the course of history in the UK. It is very simple, everyone needs to calm down and do what we do well, which is working and playing hard.”

— BUILDING SERVICES —

SODEXO CEO MICHEL LANDEL

“The exit of the UK from the European Union should not have a major and direct impact on our business. We are a local player and were are working with local suppliers and employees.”

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