Chem­i­cals gi­ant Ineos nets Swiss foot­ball club

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Jil­lian Am­brose

CHEM­I­CALS gi­ant Ineos has bought a Swiss foot­ball club in the lat­est in a se­ries of un­ortho­dox moves by the pri­vately owned group be­yond its core busi­ness.

The group and its bil­lion­aire founder, Jim Rat­cliffe, raised eye­brows yes­ter­day with the un­ex­pected pur­chase of one of Europe’s old­est foot­ball clubs, FC Lau­sanne-Sport, which it says “aligns with Ineos’ con­tin­u­ing in­vest­ment in youth and com­mu­nity sports in Lau­sanne and Can­ton Vaud”.

The pur­chase of a Swiss foot­ball team fol­lows the com­pany’s un­ex­pected ac­qui­si­tion last month of Bel­staff, the Bri­tish her­itage fash­ion brand. In Septem­ber, Mr Rat­cliffe un­veiled plans to set up an in­de­pen­dent car com­pany to make a suc­ces­sor to the Land Rover De­fender, in a move that crit­ics de­scribed as a “van­ity project”.

Ineos said yes­ter­day’s deal was to con­tinue its in­vest­ment in “lo­cal” sport, de­spite pledg­ing last year to re­turn its head­quar­ters from Lau­sanne to the UK. Ineos left the UK for Lau­sanne in Switzer­land in 2010 to save an es­ti­mated €450m (£318m) in tax over four years, but vowed to re­turn to Bri­tain af­ter a cut to cor­po­ra­tion tax.

The firm con­sid­ers its head­quar­ters to be in Knights­bridge in Lon­don, while its reg­is­tered ad­dress is in Hamp­shire. Its founder, Mr Rat­cliffe, is once again a UK tax-res­i­dent.

The Swiss foot­ball club will part­ner with Ineos’ planned youth foot­ball clubs in Botswana and Namibia to flow tal­ent through to the team, which is cur­rently sixth in the Swiss league.

“This is not a profit-mak­ing ac­tiv­ity,” added David Thomp­son, a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at Ineos. Mr Thomp­son said he be­lieves the team can top the Swiss league and qual­ify for Euro­pean tour­na­ments. Ineos said it has al­ready given its full back­ing to FC Lau­sanne-Sport man­ager Fabio Ce­les­tini and his coach­ing staff who will re­main with the club.

‘The move aligns with Ineos’ con­tin­u­ing in­vest­ment in youth and com­mu­nity sports in Lau­sanne’

Marco Djuricin leaps over Lau­sanne keeper Thomas Castella, FC Lau­sanne-Sport, one of Europe’s old­est clubs, was bought by Ineos

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