Grant Thornton – Businesses must not take foot off ‘Brexit preparation’ pedal

GRANT THORNTON: BUSINESSES MUST NOT TAKE FOOT OFF ‘BREXIT PREPARATION’ PEDAL

Companies must not slow down their preparations for Brexit, despite progress in negotiations between the UK and EU, leading business advisory firm Grant Thornton has warned.

Peter Legge, Tax Partner at the firm’s offices in Belfast said:

“The recent acceptance of a draft withdrawal agreement by the EU-member states has provided businesses with a greater and welcome level of clarity.

“However, given that there are still many hoops to go through before the deal is rubber stamped, if at all, it is imperative firms don’t take their eye off the ball in their Brexit preparations.”

He was speaking following the completion of a Brexit workshop with motorhome firm Camperco Group, which includes Bunk Campers, the UK and Ireland’s largest motorhome rental company, and in the wake of new warnings from the Bank of England and the Treasury about the effects of a ‘no deal’ withdrawal.

Peter commented:

“Demand for our Brexit advisory services is increasing markedly, and we recently completed a workshop with Camperco as the business sought to determine the likely impact on future business in light of its reliance on international trade.

“Drawing on political insights, professional service expertise and a wealth of experience, we are working with clients to model various potential Brexit scenarios.

“In Camperco’s case, this included considering the effects on customers and markets, core operations, supply chain, funding, and ownership.

“This, combined with the identification of ‘no-regret’ decisions that can be taken regardless of the Brexit outcome helps to build a contingency planning roadmap to ensure the best future for clients.”

Founded as Bunk Campers in 2007 by Keith Charlton and Louise Corken, the widened group rebranded as Camperco in 2017 to reflect broadening business activities.

The company, which was sold earlier this year to Australian firm Apollo Tourism Holdings plc, operates a fleet of 200 motorhomes with rental and retail outlets across the UK and Ireland while also converting campervans and selling of parts and accessories through an e-commerce website.

Louise Corken, Group Marketing Director, said:

“As one of the largest importers and retailers of motorhomes in the UK, we rely heavily on an international supply base for our product. Therefore, any risk that tariffs will lead to a higher cost base could adversely impact our competitiveness.

“Given that we operate across multiple jurisdictions in the UK and the EU, it was vital we sought assistance from advisors with a broad practice base in a number of our key markets.

“Grant Thornton worked with us to look at the likely effects in a variety of key areas, enabling us to verify the challenges and opportunities of our current five-year business plan by viewing it through a Brexit prism.”

Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that less than half of businesses in the UK have commenced contingency plans for a ‘no deal’ withdrawal.

Lorraine Nelson, Tax Manager, Grant Thornton, who forms part of the firm’s Brexit advisory team added:

“Our key piece of advice to clients remains unchanged. If you can only plan for one scenario, prepare for a ‘no-deal’, and act now to make the necessary decisions to ensure your business is not facing a race against time on Brexit.”

For more information about the Grant Thornton Brexit Advisory services, visit www.grantthorntonni.com/brexit.

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