Accenture shareholders give thumbs up to Ireland move

Transaction expected to be completed by September 1

The shareholders of Accenture Ltd. have approved a proposal by the company’s board of directors made earlier this year to shift the company’s place of incorporation from Bermuda to Ireland.

The legal aspects associated with the switch are expected to be completed by Sept. 1, company officials said Aug. 5.

After the change is completed, the company will continue to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and be subject to the same reporting requirements as before, the officials said. The company’s shares also will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ACN.”

The company’s board of directors had approved the proposed move in May. Under the proposed plan, Accenture plc, an Irish company, will replace Accenture Ltd. as the parent company, company officials said at the time.

The Obama administration, backed by congressional Democrats, launched a crackdown on tax havens after taking office, which subsequently prompted some multinational corporations located offshore to consider moving away from locations such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands where they would be vulnerable to anti-tax haven legislation, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Corporations with substantial U.S. operations incorporated in these places tend to favor Switzerland or Ireland as their new place of incorporation because those countries have tax treaties with the United States that might serve to protect them from possible adverse legislation, the newspaper reported.

In a regulatory filing earlier this year regarding the planned moved, Accenture officials gave several reasons for the proposed move, including legislative proposals that would increase the company’s taxes, general negative publicity about companies incorporated in Bermuda, and the growing importance of the company’s European business.

Accenture provides management consulting, technology services and outsourcing to the public and private sectors. The company ranks No. 25 on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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