A secret £750 million trust located in the Channel Islands sits at the top of an elaborate entanglement of companies which belong to the family behind the popular restaurant chain.
The restaurant group is owned by Dick Enthoven, a South African businessman and uses a range of offshore techniques including companies in Guernsey, Malta and the Netherlands to legally reduce the amount of Corporation Tax that it pays in the UK by up to a third.
The growing popularity of Nandos in the UK has seen it become a cultural phenomenon with celebrity fans such as David Beckham, Example and Ed Sheeran as well as people from across the pond such as Jay Z and Beyonce, who famously rack up bills in the restaurant buying meals for all of their tour staff. However, tax avoidance is the cardinal sin in the UK, so the chain could see its popularity wavering in a similar manner to Starbucks after its tax evasion schemes were revealed.
Controversy over tax avoidance is the focus of the news at the moment, with calls for the Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom to explain to the cabinet secretary a total of £816,000 of political donations to the Conservatives made by her own Guernsey based brother in law banker. The Times newspaper also named Sir Michael Caine, Katie Melua and Artic Monkeys as potential beneficiaries of a tax avoidance scheme called Liberty.
The offshore world of Nandos is particularly elaborate. The family’s personal cash, their £8 million Wiltshire stately home and their corporate structures all have offshore addresses. Buy a meal from there and the profit flows into a network of accounts including those in Malta, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and more. The structures are all legal but they are complex and not very transparent- they significantly reduce the amount of tax that the company pays around the world in comparison to a traditional British operation.
A spokesperson for Nandos did stress that the company does pay Corporation Tax. He said:
[quote] “In the UK, Nando’s Group Holdings Ltd. incurred corporation tax of £12.6 million on a profit of £58.2m with revenues of £485.2 million in the year ending February 2013.” [/quote]