Nestle to move headquarters from Croydon to Gatwick
Confectionery giant Nestle has announced that it is moving its UK headquarters from south London to West Sussex after more than 40 years.
Its 840 office-based employees will move from Croydon to Gatwick by the end of the year.
It said it had been seeking a new head office in Croydon for "several years" but it had proved "very difficult".
Croydon Council said it was "deeply disappointed" having offered an "attractive" relocation package.
In a statement, the company, whose products include Kit Kat, Nescafe and Smarties, said it had proved difficult to either redevelop the current offices in Croydon - locally known as "Nestle Tower" - or identify a suitable new place.
The new head office will be at 1 City Place Gatwick, about 15 miles away.
Paul Grimwood, chairman and CEO of Nestle UK & Ireland, said: "This move represents an exciting new chapter for Nestle in the UK."
Nestle said no redundancies would be made as part of the move.'Footloose company'
Croydon Council said that Nestle had chosen a type of office accommodation that it could not match - a low-rise building on a business park campus next to an international airport.
As part of a package to try to keep the multinational company, the council said it had offered to buy its existing buildings.
It said its priority was to work with the company to ensure that as many Croydon residents' jobs as possible were protected.
Council leader Mike Fisher said: "Ultimately we have to respect the fact that Nestle are a footloose global company and can choose where they locate their business."
Matthew Sims, general manager of Croydon Chamber of Commerce, said it was a "blow to Croydon and its local economy" but it remained a great place for businesses.
Crawley Borough Council, Gatwick's local authority, said the move to City Place was "absolutely fantastic news".
Nestle employs 7,000 people across 19 sites in the UK and Ireland.