Nestle has announced that it is relocating its UK headquarters and 840 employees from Croydon in south London to West Sussex.
The global confectionery giant, whose products include Kit Kat, Nescafe and Milkybar, is planning to complete the switch by the end of the year.
The company’s UK division has been based in the south London area for more than 40 years, but this decision will see all of its 840 office-based employees move to Gatwick.
In a statement, Nestle, which employs a total of 7,000 people across 19 sites in Britain and Ireland, said it has spent millions of pounds in the last five years establishing world class office and manufacturing facilities throughout the UK.
As part of this investment the food firm had been trying to find a suitable site for a new head office in Croydon, but said “it has proved very difficult either to redevelop the company’s current offices, or to identify an alternative location that meets its needs”.
When the firm leaves its current base, which is known locally as “Nestle Tower”, it will move around 15 miles away to a new head office at 1 City Place, Gatwick.
Paul Grimwood, Nestle UK & Ireland chairman and CEO said: “This move represents an exciting new chapter for Nestle in the UK. We are investing across the UK to establish our next generation of world class facilities. Our new head office will provide a modern, efficient and attractive workplace for our people, in an ideal location.”
Croydon Council has said it is “saddened” by Nestle’s decision to end such a long working relationship with the area. In a statement, the local authority said it did everything it could to offer the business a viable alternative within the London borough.
Council leader Mike Fisher said: “We are obviously very disappointed that Nestle has decided to leave the borough after more than 40 years. We have done everything we possibly could to avoid this outcome, but ultimately we have to respect the fact that Nestle is a footloose global company and can choose where they locate their business.”
Matthew Sims, general manager of Croydon Chamber of Commerce, said the relocation is a “blow to Croydon and its local economy” but the area is still a great place to do business, the BBC reported.
Meanwhile, Crawley Borough Council, Gatwick’s local authority, has welcomed Nestle’s decision, saying it was “absolutely fantastic news”.