How do French businesses in the UK feel about Brexit?

25 June, 2018

On the second anniversary of the referendum and just 40 weeks before the UK officially ends its 46 year membership of the European Union, we asked a sample of UK-based French groups how French businesses in the UK feel about the UK’s impending departure from the Union and its effect on the economy and their businesses.


The survey was carried out with a sample of 99 senior business women and men – CEOs; entrepreneurs; investors; senior advisors; bankers and financiers.  The sectors they represent are a cross section of the two countries’ economies, namely – automotive; banking, finance & insurance; business advisory and law; consumer goods; environmental services; food and drink; luxury goods; pharmaceuticals; oil & gas; tech; tourism, leisure & hospitality; transport.


Representing some large French international groups present in the UK, as well as SMEs, most are very exposed to UK-French trade and investment.  It is without a doubt that they will be impacted by Brexit.


France and Britain have a longstanding history of close business and trading relationship – in 2017, France ranked 3rd in the list of Britain’s top export destinations (British exports worth US$32.8bn), whilst the UK ranked 6th as a destination for French exports (US$35.2bn).  There are over 3,000 French companies with UK operations employing some 580,000 people.  The trade between of the two countries are inextricably linked.


The results are as follows:

  1. The results of this survey carried out in April and May 2018 indicate that only 6% of these businesses exposed to Brexit are positive or very positive.


  1. A third of the same companies see economic activity post-Brexit as “neutral”.


  1. 60% of businesses have put contingency measures in place in preparation for Brexit.


  1. Perhaps combined with the 40% of respondents who haven’t put in place any measures yet, it is a sign that the uncertainty about the exact shape of the UK’s future relationship with the European Union prevents those businesses from drafting up any plans. This complements comments we hear from a significant number of businesses exposed to Brexit.


For further information, please contact Olivier Morel at or +44 (0)18 92 50 60 03.