In what would be a massive boost to the capital’s IT credentials, Germany’s leading software provider could be the latest foreign firm to set up shop in London.
Tucked away in a scenic and relatively unknown part of south-west Germany, SAP has enjoyed life in the leafy village of Walldorf for many years.
But according to German paper Handelsblatt the firm is increasingly in discussion to move somewhere livelier – with London a likely location.
SAP isn’t the only European company heading across the Channel: Noble Corp, owner of the world’s third-largest offshore drilling rig fleet, moved from Switzerland to London in July.
In 2012 alone as many as 45 foreign companies relocated to London. So what’s the reason?
Theatre and Tax
No doubt the range of theatres, restaurants and bars play their part, as do London’s international airports and its fascinatingly unpredictable weather.
But top of the list is surely the UK’s low corporation tax, which has sunk from 28% to 23% since 2010 and is set to go down to 20% by 2015.
This compares to 29% in Germany and 33% in France.
At a time when some want and some fear the loss of many financial institutions away from the capital, the arrival of SAP would be a real coup.
Not only would it contribute to the UK’s continued economic growth it would also diversify the range of companies that are based in London.
The next SAP
Today the Government announced the first 25 of its Future Fifty programme – an initiative designed to help the UK’s most promising tech companies to grow further.
Many of these are start-ups based near amee in London’s ‘Tech City’.
While the arrival of firms such as SAP is of course welcome news, making the most of home-grown talent and innovation to create the next SAP would be even better.