AstraZeneca gears up for Brexit ‘uncertainty’

AstraZeneca gears up for Brexit 'uncertainty'
AstraZeneca chairman Leif Johansson. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has started preliminary preparations for the possibility of a hard Brexit, which would mean moving some of its operations away from the UK, the company's chairman revealed to a Swedish newspaper.

The firm's board has taken the “first step” in planning for a scenario in which no divorce deal is reached between the UK and the EU by the deadline of March 2019, Leif Johansson told Dagens Nyheter (DN):

“If something doesn't happen to take away the current uncertainty it will become a big and important matter for us.”

“Moving manufacturing takes several years. The likelihood of us moving in to the EU is high in that case (hard Brexit),” he continued.

One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca has its headquarters in Cambridge and is in the process of building a new main office and research centre there.

Johansson noted that he finds it difficult to believe that there will be a hard Brexit, but there is nonetheless a risk of an agreement not being reached.