die belebende Bedenkung

The London guarantee

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Page 7 of the 18-page David Higgins HS2 Plus reportPage 7 of the 18-page David Higgins HS2 Plus report was given over to a somewhat cryptic map of Britain, showing “FTSE 100 companies by location”. Presumably, head office location.

[HS2 Plus]

It shows that 66 of the 100 companies are located in London and the South East, and only six are located north of a line from Birmingham to Cambridge in England, with a further six in Scotland. Apart from the ten not based in Britain, most of the rest are within the broader London commuter belt. Clearly, for the vast majority of these companies, connectivity appears to matter. They feel they can only guarantee that in and around London.
HS2 can change the status quo. It can address the underlying issues in a way that no other infrastructure project has done or can do. Whether it is congestion in the South; the disincentive that the journey time to London poses for companies contemplating establishing their businesses in the North; or the poor east-west connectivity that appears to inhibit trade, commerce and development, HS2 can help resolve those issues.

France has invested billions of euros in very high speed rail. So on the reasoning put forward by Mr Higgins, one might expect there would be a wide dispersal of corporate head offices in France.

The nearest French equivalent of the FTSE 100 is probably the CAC 40. As can be seen from the table below, the existence of an extensive TGV network appears to have had no effect on head office location. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Toulouse, Limoges, and Clermont-Ferrand are not part of the new-build TGV network.

CAC 40 Company ICB Sector Ticker symbol Head office location
Accor hotels AC Paris
Air Liquide commodity chemicals AI Paris
Airbus Group aerospace AIR Toulouse (Blagnac)
Alstom industrial machinery ALO Paris
ArcelorMittal steel MT Luxembourg (L)
AXA full line insurance CS Paris
BNP Paribas banks BNP Paris
Bouygues heavy construction EN Paris
Capgemini computer services CAP Paris
Carrefour food retailers and wholesalers CA Paris
Crédit Agricole banks ACA Paris
EDF electricity EDF Paris
Essilor medical supplies EI Paris
Gemalto cyber security GTO Amsterdam (NL)
GDF Suez gas distribution GSZ Paris
Groupe Danone food products BN Paris
L’Oréal personal products OR Paris
Lafarge building materials and fixtures LG Paris
Legrand electrical components and equipment LR Limoges
LVMH clothing and accessories MC Paris
Michelin tyres ML Clermont-Ferrand
Orange telecommunications ORA Paris
Pernod Ricard distillers and vintners RI Paris
PPR broadline retailers PP Paris
Publicis media agencies PUB Paris
Renault automobiles RNO Paris
Safran aerospace and defence SAF Paris
Saint-Gobain building materials and fixtures SGO Paris
Sanofi pharmaceuticals SAN Paris
Schneider Electric electrical components and equipment SU Paris
Société Générale banks GLE Paris
Solvay chemicals SOLB Brussels (B)
STMicroelectronics semiconductors STM Geneva (CH)
Technip oil equipment and services TEC Paris
Total integrated oil and gas FP Paris
Unibail-Rodamco real estate investment trusts UL Paris
Vallourec industrial machinery VK Paris
Veolia Environnement water VIE Paris
Vinci heavy construction DG Paris
Vivendi broadcasting and entertainment VIV Paris

82% of CAC 40 companies were based in Paris (compared to 66% for FTSE 100 companies, mentioned in HS2 Plus).

CAC 40 companies-based in Paris (beleben, Mar 2014)

Written by beleben

March 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

3 Responses

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  1. There is (of course) no definition of the term “based in”.

    For example, a company I do business with has the following “locations”:

    Registered Office (for the service of legal notices) – an Accountants offices in London.

    Head Office – Watford, with a six employees

    Production sites: – including Milton Keynes (55 employees), Birmingham (30) and France (10)


    March 20, 2014 at 9:02 am

  2. Head offices are based in London because people want to be in London, due to its world-class place to be status, not because its easy to get to !! London’s attraction is down to the fact that its a great big melting pot of cultures and interesting and exciting things happen there… do people think that they’ll start relocating to Crewe because there’s a nice big noisy train line going there? It will take decades of radical change to make any other city in Europe compete with the attractiveness of London let alone most of the other great cities of England… unless HS2 think they can invent the concept of multiple capital cities of course. The flow of skills, manpower and money will clearly be towards London if its made easier to get there. Its a terrible misappropriation of public money in its current form. I think a new freight line with many more stops along the route would get the wheels of the country oiled far better by freeing up capacity on existing lines that are slowed down by freight – quicker local journeys can be offered nationwide then on lines which people use to commute to various busy towns – thats where the investment is really required…or perhaps on potholes and driving innovation in less polluting vehicles.

    Richard Grosse

    March 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

  3. […] Beleben makes some interesting comparisons with the locations of head offices of companies based in France in one of his/her blogs. […]

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