US firm moves parent to Ireland


US ELECTRICAL manufacturer Cooper Industries is to seek shareholder approval to move its place of incorporation from Bermuda to Ireland.

The 175-year-old firm is the latest US firm to move its corporate parent to Ireland following an announcement by the Obama administration that it is to clamp down on use of tax havens. Last month, healthcare group Covidien, an offshoot of Tyco International, completed its move to Dublin from Bermuda.

Ingersoll-Rand, the Bermuda-based maker of refrigeration equipment, last week received shareholder approval for its move to Ireland. Standard Poor’s then said it would remove the firm from its SP 500 index, as Irish firms are not eligible for inclusion.

Cooper Industries had already begun moving to Ireland when the US government singled out Ireland as one of three locations where US multinationals make a large proportion of their overseas profits. It established tax residency here in December 2008.

There had been concern that the tax clampdown may harm investment in Ireland, but Cooper’s move is further evidence that the country may benefit from it.

The Cooper Industries board has approved the move. Assuming shareholders in the New York-listed group vote in favour, an Irish-incorporated firm, Cooper Industries plc, will replace Cooper Industries Ltd as the parent company. The company said it expects its shares to continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cooper Industries has manufacturing operations worldwide and had revenues in 2008 of $6.5 billion (€4.6 billion).

Cooper chairman and chief executive Kirk Hachigian said a number of alternative locations were considered. Ireland was chosen “due to its stable business, legal and regulatory environment, its strong relationships as a member of the European Union, its long history of international investments and its solid network of tax treaties with the United States, the European Union and many other countries where Cooper has major operations”.