Powerscourt – 360 degree perspective from London, Dublin and Brussels

Welcome to Powerscourt's Brexit page.

On June 23, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Businesses are struggling to quantify the effects of a referendum result that few expected. But many are also facing questions themselves - from investors, employees, customers and business partners, urgently wanting to know what Brexit will mean for them.

What, if anything, should companies say publicly?

Over the next few weeks, we will update this page with our daily concise summary of developments and media coverage. We will also post regular thoughts from our communications professionals.

Powerscourt applies unrivalled expertise to your communications objectives. Working out of London, Dublin and Brussels, our team consists of former journalists, government and EU officials, military personnel, lawyers and investment bankers - professionals with knowledge, calmness, tolerance for ambiguity and a positive appetite for challenging assignments.

Maintaining perspective
Even in the midst of market volatility and political speculation, there are some certainties. Nothing much is going to happen imminently. The UK will remain an EU member for years, with its trading rights intact. There is no need for investment or strategic decisions that are hasty.

Nor should firms become too Brexit-focused in their market announcements. Most public companies have declared strategies to which they are still committed, notwithstanding the Brexit vote. Their principal responsibility is to continue communicating that strategy. Key to the communications success of many will be a continued focus on the deliverables they can still control - costs, return on equity, market share etc - and how they compare to their competitors.

Relative good performance, even in trying circumstances, is the key to differentiating yourself as an investment and customer proposition - just as it was before Brexit.

Thinking strategically
On the other hand - as EasyJet reminded us, with a profit warning within days of the vote - certain sectors have frontline exposure to Brexit. And in the longer term the GDP effects of Brexit will touch almost every industry. Beyond that, this is an event whose ramifications - for financial markets, for globalisation and economic development, for geopolitics and international security - will take years to assess, if not longer.

For some companies, this may require much more than a response from the investor-relations playbook, or the crisis manual.

At Powerscourt, we know this from long practice. We supported high-profile Wall Street investors threatened by excessive dilution of their investments during the recent recapitalisation of Greek Banks. We advised Irish government agencies and banking institutions around the country's credit-rating downgrade and asset disposals. And we were on hand to advise BP during a period of unprecedented public and government scrutiny during the Gulf of Mexico crisis.

Seizing PR opportunities and avoiding pitfalls
Investors, media, employees and other stakeholders will want you to provide clear guidance about the future of your company's trading, legal and regulatory environment - arguably an impossible task, with so many details of Britain's exit yet to be determined.

They will want to know how you see yourself weathering years of potential uncertainty, and how well you prepared for a "Leave" vote. They will want to know what, if anything, you can do to influence the outcome of future negotiations between the UK and its international partners.

Businesses will be highly-prized advocates in the debate to come over Brexit, just as they were before the referendum; perhaps even more so, as economic impacts set in and the general public increasingly look to corporate leaders, not politicians, for guidance on the issues impacting their lives.

So there will be PR opportunities as well as challenges. Opportunities to communicate your own profile and that of your business. Opportunities to explain any changes in your strategy to UK and international audiences. And opportunities, should you wish it, to influence the outcome of a Brexit saga that is far from finished.

Powerscourt's daily summary of the latest Brexit news and commentary

22 February 2017

The Times leads with remarks from Brexit secretary David Davis who on a visit to eastern Europe, reportedly said British workers would not be ready to fill jobs done by European migrants for “years and years”. As part of a diplomatic charm offensive across eastern Europe, Davis declared that the UK would keep its doors open for low-skilled workers in hospitality, agriculture and social care.

21 February 2017

According to The Times, Germany is siding with Britain to stop the European Commission presenting a €60 billion “divorce” bill immediately after Theresa May begins the Brexit process. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, wants the opening phase of Brexit talks to focus on the size of the exit bill for existing funding commitments, pensions and other liabilities. He reportedly believes that discussions on the EU-UK free trade deal, which is the main focus of ministerial work in Britain, should be delayed until substantial progress is made on exit issues. 

Brexit Calendar

28 June 2016

 - European Council Summit in Brussels

 - Nicola Sturgeon addresses Scottish Parliament on referendum outcome

29 June 2016

- Conservative leadership nominations open

30 June 2016

 - Conservative leadership nominations close

Insights from the Powerscourt team

09 August 2016

For many international companies based in the UK, it’s time to pick up the megaphone. Foreign-owned businesses largely kept quiet as the Brexit debate thundered on – understandably so, for fear of attracting vitriol from outspoken Brexiteers, or perhaps because they were simply unclear what a “Leave” vote would really mean for them. 

By Giles Read, head of campaigns