Pressure on BAT to ditch London listing for New York
LONDON suffered a fresh blow as a major investor called for British American Tobacco (BAT) to ditch the City for New York.
Asset manager GQG Partners, the fifth biggest shareholder, said it ‘makes no sense’ for BAT to stay on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The £76bn US-based fund’s founder Rajiv Jain urged bosses at the Lucky Strike and Pall Mall maker to scrap its London listing after more than a century.
Jain’s call raised fresh questions about the attractiveness of the LSE and follows a series of highprofile snubs for the Square Mile.
British microchip designer Arm is to float on Wall Street, dashing hopes of a dual listing. Its Japanese owner SoftBank was said to have been put off by City rules.
Fintech star Oaknorth warned it would float in New York instead of London and £30bn building materials giant CRH plans to move its shares to the US as companies seek better access to capital and higher valuations.
Jain said BAT is an ‘orphan in Europe’ and highlighted the US focus of its business. He told the Financial Times: ‘What’s the point of remaining listed in London?’
Jain added: ‘We are a large shareholder, so they listened to us and they weren’t committal in one way or the other.’