Brexit worries push WYG to open Dutch office

UK construction consultant WYG has opened an office in Amsterdam to protect its European share of revenues as Brexit looms.

Around one fifth of its £154m turnover comes from work in Europe; the engineer already has a number of offices on the continent including three in Poland.

"Covering the bases": WYG chief executive Douglas McCormick (WYG)

Its chief executive Douglas McCormick said its new Dutch base would help it win work in the region if the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU turned sour, reports UK magazine, Building.

Having an office and separate Dutch company in Amsterdam means WYG can still bid for work funded from the EU budget or EU development funds.

"Very simply this is a mitigation measure in anticipation of what Brexit might mean. We derive 20% of our revenue from Europe and we want to protect that. We want to work in the region," McCormick said.

Two years after the referendum, uncertainty continues over the terms of the trading arrangement the UK will seek in negotiations with Brussels as the March 2019 deadline looms.

Today, Prime Minister Theresa May appealed for party unity to soothe internal dissent over the EU Withdrawal Bill.

McCormick said this ongoing uncertainty was "unhelpful".

"We’re being prudent [in setting up the office] and covering the bases," he said.

The Amsterdam office is a holding and management company called WYG International BV which was created at the end of last year.

According to Building, the firm has moved a director from the UK to Amsterdam. The office currently employs 40 staff based in the UK. McCormick said he hoped staff numbers would grow.

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