CaixaBank's headquarters in Barcelona.

05-10-2017Reuters

CaixaBank, the leading bank in Catalonia and one of the most important in Spain, has relocated its registered office to Valencia. It had appeared that the bank would opt for Palma, so much so that there were reports yesterday that it had.

The Balearic government spokesperson Pilar Costa was stressing for a time yesterday that the relocation was just speculation and that the government had received no communication from CaixaBank. However, this didn't prevent the speculation gathering force. In the end, there was a sense that some media reports had to be hastily rewritten and reflect on what might have happened rather than what did happen. The potential long-term benefits for Majorca and the Balearics of CaixaBank being based in Palma were being assessed and then had to be reassessed in purely hypothetical terms.

But the move to Valencia isn't necessarily permanent. Companies are relocating their offices to other regions, concerned by what a unilateral declaration of independence in Catalonia might entail.

The speculation was understandable, given the presence of CaixaBank in the Balearics. There is a suggestion in fact that Palma was the preference of the bank's board but that an intervention by Catalonia's vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, forced a rethink. He said in a radio interview on Friday that he hoped Catalonia banks would stay in the Catalan Lands rather than choose Madrid. The Balearics conform to this Catalan Lands image; Valencia does not, or at least not in the same way as the Balearics. If Junqueras was indeed advocating Majorca, then the bank's board thought otherwise.

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