Madrid : Madrid , Oct 8 (IANS) About 10 companies have decided to relocate their legal headquarters from Catalonia to other places in Spain over fears of an unilateral declaration of independence, media reported on Saturday.

After a referendum over independence was held last Sunday, several companies decided to move their headquarters away from this Spanish northeastern region, Xinhua news agency reported.

Saturday saw water management company SGAB announce the relocation of its legal headquarters to Madrid, Friday saw Gas Natural Fenosa announce the same decision adding that this could be a temporary measure due to the political situation of uncertainty Catalonia is going through.

Banks such as Banco Mediolanum relocated its headquarters to Madrid, Arqui cooperative to Valencia, Caixabank to Valencia and Banc Sabadell took the decision of moving its headquarters to Alicante.

Fundacion La Caixa and Criteria also announced they move away from Catalonia to Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands.

Other companies took the same decision of leaving Catalonia such as Oryzon Genomics (which took the decision on Tuesday), Eurona, Proclinic, Arquia Banca, Service Point or Dogi.

Other companies considering taking these decisions are sparkling wine companies Codorniu and Freixenet and insurance company Catalana Occidente.

Spain's Minister of Public Works, Inigo de la Serna, said in an interview in a local radio station that these moves are just "a first step of what could repeatedly happen" if there is a unilateral declaration of independence.

"Companies are leading and they will continue to leave", he said, arguing that companies are trying to preserve their businesses.

The Spanish government announced a decree on Friday that makes it easier for companies to leave Catalonia and move their headquarters to other places in Spain as the decision would not need to be passed by the shareholder meeting, unless the company's statutes say the opposite.

Meanwhile, the regional president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, announced he would appear in the regional parliament on Tuesday to explain the political situation.

Monday meeting was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court to pre-empt a hypothetical push for independence.


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