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British brands hit by Brexit

LONDON: April 27, 2017. Valuation and strategy consultant Brand Finance says British brands have lost 6.0 percent of their value since the Brexit vote last year led to the devaluation of Sterling.

In its latest index of 140 leading British brands, the company said 88 have seen a fall in value with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic dropping 7.0 percent and 15.0 percent respectively.

Brand Finance said the fall in Sterling has left British brands vulnerable to takeover, citing the recent failed bid by Kraft Foods for (Anglo-Dutch) Unilever, and the successful acquisition of chipmaker ARM by Japan's SoftBank.

Company CEO David Haigh noted: "While the impact of Brexit on the broader economy has not lived up to the doomsday scenarios, British brands are clearly vulnerable to takeover by foreign firms. Management and shareholders [should] be fully aware of both the saleable value of their brands and the value that those brands contribute to the overall business. This way, hasty sales for less than fair value that endanger British jobs might be avoided."

LHR VirginBrand Finance helped craft the ISO 10668 standard on Brand Valuation that defines a brand as "a marketing-related intangible ...creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits/value."

Publication of the new brand index coincides with a warning to politicians from Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the UK's business group CBI, that Britain and the rest of the EU business community want an agreement with as few barriers as possible, adding that without one everybody loses.

In a speech to business leaders at Cambridge University, the former alumnus declared: "We have an overwhelming shared interest in building the trading relationships which will define our shared future.

"Take a look at the numbers and you see that our long-term trading relationship is the real prize – dwarfing any potential divorce settlement: A one-off EU divorce bill of, some suggest, tens of billions of euros, compared to EU-UK trade worth well over €600 billion every year.

"This is not a zero-sum game. In today's inter-connected economy which relies on supply chains crossing borders and nations, our fates are intertwined," she continued.

Noting the forthcoming meeting of European leaders to agree a common response to Theresa May's Article 50 letter, Fairbairn said it would be good for the members of the Bundestag to know that German firms supply 60 percent of the electronics in yachts built by a firm in Norwich, or French Senators to know that small and medium-sized firms in Paris have been building robots that fix wind turbines with an engineering company in Cambridge.

"In these discussions it's vital that the economics cuts through the politics. So our message to European firms and policy makers is 'keep on talking, keep on listening'. We need to make sure politicians in all EU countries understand just how much we have all benefited," she added.

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