Chemicals giant Ineos nets Swiss football club
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