Dublin-based tech firm relocates to US due to Trump’s ‘favourable’ tax changes

The world’s second largest internet domain name registry has relocated to Pennsylvania

Afilias has  relocated to the US due to “favourable” tax changes recently introduced by President Donald Trump. Photograph: EPA

Afilias has relocated to the US due to “favourable” tax changes recently introduced by President Donald Trump. Photograph: EPA

 

Afilias, a Dublin-headquartered company that manages hundreds of millions of internet addresses, has relocated to Pennsylvania due to “favourable” tax changes recently introduced by US president Donald Trump.

He signed the overhaul of the US tax regime into law on December 22nd, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent. Earlier this year it was reported that Apple was pulling back on its investments in the corporate bond market as it prepares to repatriate billions of dollars in overseas cash under the Trump tax cuts. However, Afilias, is the first known company headquartered in Ireland to relocate on the back of the tax changes.

The company, a global provider of domain name registry service, established its headquarters in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin shortly after it was founded 18 years ago. It is now the world’s second largest internet domain name registry with more than 20 million web addresses under management.

Afilias said on Thursday it had set up a new corporate parent entity and relocated to Horsham, Pennsylvania, with Afilias plc of Ireland now a wholly owned subsidiary of that organisation.

The company said the decision to relocate from Ireland was due to “recent favourable US tax changes” and the fact that two of its largest customers – Public Internet Registry and Go Daddy – are headquartered there.

Appeal

The company established its corporate headquarters in Dublin in early 2001, primarily because of the anticipated appeal of .info, its first product in Europe, the makeup of its initial owner and what it termed “other financial conditions”.

One of the internet’s first registrars, Afilias manages a wide number of top-level domains. These are effectively the ending of internet addresses. Among the domains it looks after are .info, .mobi, .org, .xxx., global, .sex, .aero and .rich. Other internet addresses under its management include country domains such as .IN (India) and AU (Australia).

Afilias, which is primarily based in Philadelphia, where its chief executive and co-founder Hal Lubsen lives, also has offices in Vista, near San Diego, Beijing, Toronto, New Delhi and Melbourne.

“We’ve long had a strong US presence,” said Mr Lubsen. “More of the company’s shares are now owned by Americans, and our executive group is increasingly becoming American.

“However, nothing really changes for our customers and our vendors. Afilias continues to be a global registry services provider; our operations will not be affected,” he added.

The last publicly available accounts for Afilias shows it recorded a $38.6 million (€33 million) pretax profit in 2016 after turnover rose from $92.7 million (€79.4 million) to $106.7 million (€91.4 million).

The company employed 286 people at the end of 2016. It said it did not expect any personnel changes to arise from the decision to relocate its headquarters away from Ireland.