Nando's: chickening out of tax legally

11 July 2014

nandos Spicy chicken news now, and it transpires that Nando's are being a bit spicy with their tax affairs.

On the back of a similar claim against Lidl and the like, a report by The Guardian says the chicken chain is all tied up with most of the corporate structure having offshore addresses.

For instance, purchase a £7.30 portion of spicy chicken thighs at Nando's and the cash flows into a network of accounting devices, involving Malta, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Panama and the British Virgin Islands.

Profits finally fetch up in Enthoven's Taro III Trust. It is based in Jersey and has been operated by Kleinwort Benson. This trust, not liable for UK tax, contains no less than £750m and possibly much more.

It's all legal, but not exactly transparent to the naked eye. These methods help reduce the tax that the company and family pay around the world in comparison to conventional onshore British operation.

The company's arrangements can legally avoid capital gains tax, inheritance tax and potential future stamp duty for those like the Enthovens, whose South African heredity makes them "non-doms".

Nando's owners also legally reduce their UK corporate tax bill by making various permissible payments offshore. Nando's does then pay UK corporation tax on the remainder of its profits.

The UK end of 280 restaurants, paid over £21 million of its revenues as a royalty for use of the Nando's name. This money goes to a low-tax Netherlands set-up called Tortolli BV. Tortolli in turn collects the cash on behalf of another company registered in another tax haven , this time in Malta .

The rent for the restaurants is paid to a separate UK company, also owned by a Netherlands intermediary, and the finance to brand-up each restaurant comes through Channel Island loans.

And if that wasn't dizzying enough, profits all go to a Luxembourg low-tax registered partnership. Accounts show the Luxembourg entity then pays cash over to the tax-free Jersey family trust as interest on a £750m loan.

Nando's unnamed spokesman - who we'll refer to as Mr Nando - said that the company does pay appreciable UK corporation tax and said its licensing fee was standard.

"In the UK, Nando's Group Holdings Ltd incurred corporation tax of £12.6m on a profit of £58.2m with revenues of £485.2m in the year ending February 2013," he said.

"Nando's is a concept founded in South Africa. Nando's in the UK is one of 22 national franchises operating globally. All the franchises operate under standard market licensing arrangements and this includes the brand licensing fee. This franchising arrangement enables the UK company to access expertise, intellectual property and capital from the company's global operations and has helped fund its growth."

If Nando's peri peri clever (ahem) accounting if unsurprising or forgiveable, then this promotional video starring Goldie, Melinda Messenger and other famousish people should make you want to throw the whole company into the sea.

1 comment

  • tin
    nandos is shitter, more expensive KFC with plates, not a clue why anyone goes there.

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