When offshore driller Transocean
Exiting the Western Hemisphere made some amount of operational sense for a global service company like Transocean. After all, something like 85% of the world's population is on the other side of the globe. Halliburton
My perception of Transocean's move has changed as more and more companies have piled on to the Switzerland Express in recent weeks. The exodus includes everyone from fellow oil-service companies Weatherford
These companies, not all of which are physically relocating their headquarters, are already incorporated in some of the most tax-lax locales on Earth, including Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. So it's not just a simple matter of dodging the new Democratic administration.
Instead, it's a complex matter of dodging the new Democratic administration. President-elect Obama co-sponsored a bill last year called the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, so we know where he stands. It appears that the companies perceive places like Bermuda -- which has no tax treaty with the U.S. -- to be politically vulnerable. Foster Wheeler explicitly cites "the risk of adverse tax law changes" in its SEC proxy filing.
Federal tax revenue is recoiling rapidly in today's environment, and I think the moves by these companies to reincorporate plays about as well as various companies' bouncing over to Bermuda did during the last recession. The public outcry back then was loud enough to persuade Stanley Works