The genetically modified seed and agrochemical giant Monsanto recently mulled a move of its headquarters to Switzerland, according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one that would have allowed it to greatly reduce its corporate tax rate.
Monsanto, based in Creve Coeur, Mo., just outside of St. Louis, reportedly considered a multi-billion dollar purchase of the Swiss GM seed giant Sygenta AG, which would have allowed to move its legal headquarters to Switzerland in a move known as corporate inversion.
The move, which would have allowed Monsanto to takeover its $34 billion rival, would have also allowed the company to avoid the U.S.’ 35 percent corporate tax rate, considered to be one of the highest in the world according to the report, which also noted that the tax covers all forms of income.
Monsanto, which has drawn the ire of millions of protesters across the world through the March Against Monsanto movement and other protests, due to its highly controversial lawsuits, a bevy of health risks posed by its chemicals and plants, and more, has chosen not to comment on the report, saying only: “We are not in discussions on this particular matter.”
The discussions have now been tabled according to Bloomberg, a prominent financial news source.
According to the Dispatch report, there has been talk of new potential laws to curb on the practice, which is becoming more popular by large companies. The drug giant Pfizer recently attempted the same move with Britain’s AstraZeneca.
Monsanto Attempts to Remove Reporters with “Global Security Team”
Monsanto’s headquarters has also been the site of several protesters in recent years, including blockades by activists and news reports on the ongoing GMO controversy.
Recently, the website TrustStreamMedia.com attempted to report from Monsanto HQ in the St. Louis area but was met by members of the “Monsanto Global Security Team,” who attempted to remove them from a public sidewalk as you can see in this short video clip.
Considering the mass amount of public pressure being applied to Monsanto these days from activists and protesters, it comes as little surprise that Monsanto may be looking for a change of scenery, although Switzerland and its protesters would likely be even less receptive to the company should they ever make the move due to their current awareness level of GMOs and the health and environmental risks involved.
The Swiss deal may have been halted in large part due to public perceptions as well. Analysts from the financial analysis company Sanford G. Bernstein said the following in a note to investors to make them aware:
“The deal faces insurmountable strategic, antitrust, and public opinion issues in our view.”