PARIS Dec 9 Two major companies have contacted
Paris authorities to discuss setting up offices with several
thousand square meters of floorspace as they seek ways to keep
an EU base after Brexit, officials in the French capital's
Other firms, both in the financial and non-financial
sectors, are also looking into setting up Paris offices with
100-200 workers while keeping the rest of their staff in
Britain, the officials said.
Paris is competing with other major European cities,
including Frankfurt, as it seeks to attract London-based firms
after Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union.
"We want Paris to become Europe's first financial center,"
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told Reuters and a small group of
European newspapers in a joint interview. "There are several big
groups that are interested and got in touch."
Her chief of staff Mathias Vicherat said the Paris
municipality and the Paris & Co agency it has set up to attract
foreign firms were getting two types of demands from
"Some don't necessarily want to leave Britain entirely but
want a presence in France, in Paris, to be in the EU. There
we're talking about small spaces ... for about 100-200 people,"
He did not give names but said he expected some of those
offices to be set up in 2017. Paris' municipality argues the
French capital's geographical proximity to London gives it an
advantage for firms that want to keep a base in Britain.
"Then there are also wider relocations. Two big companies
have approached us to find offices of several thousand square
meters," Vicherat said, mentioning office spaces of 5,000-7,000
square meters. Those operations will take longer and could
materialise in 2018, he said, while adding that would also
depend on how Brexit talks evolve.
Bankers have cast doubts on the chances of France luring
much of the UK's financial industry, citing the country's
unstable tax regime and labour rules that make people difficult
to fire as major deterrents.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, however, told Reuters
last month that he had been approached by foreign financial
groups that could be interested in coming to France, but
declined to give their names.
Reuters reported last month that Goldman Sachs was
considering shifting some of its assets and operations from
London to Frankfurt.
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Additional reporting by
Jean-Baptiste Vey; editing by Michel Rose)