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Signet Group Set to Move Primary Listing to NYSE

21 August 2008 - News - Editor

Signet Group plc has received the go-ahead from its shareholders to move their primary listing from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Additionally, the company’s headquarters, which is currently situated in London, will be moved to Bermuda and the name will be changed to Signet Jewelers Ltd.

Sir Malcolm Williamson, the chairman of the Signet Group confirmed that the proposed moves received a high level of support from shareholders. A notice on the group’s website states that shareholders representing 94.4 percent of the company’s value approved of the moves, which are anticipated to be finalized by mid-September. Management has emphasized that Signet remains committed to its interests in the United Kingdom and will be submitting an application for a secondary listing on the LSE.

Signet Group plc is the largest specialty retail jewelry chain in the world, holding the number one position in both the United States and the United Kingdom’s specialty jewelry markets. With their focus primarily on the middle mass jewelry market, Signet operates 1,966 retail jewelry stores, of which the majority are located in the United States. When the dual moves were first recommended back in July, it was put forward that it would be a “natural step” for the company. The growth in the company’s U.S. shareholder base has led to a situation where U.S. residents currently own around 50 percent of the voting securities. Moreover, in excess of 70 percent of Signet’s sales, net assets and operating profit are in the United States. It is also anticipated that the main future growth of the company will take place in the U.S.

To qualify for a listing on the NYSE, Signet will have to move its main headquarters from the United Kingdom, and has chosen Bermuda as its domicile. Bermuda is located in the North Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of the U.S. Known officially as The Bermuda Islands the country is an offshore financial center (OFC) with low direct taxation on both personal and corporate income. The local tax system is based on import duties, consumption taxes and payroll taxes. Bermuda’s favorable tax regime is the primary reason that the country serves as the offshore domicile of numerous foreign companies.

 


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