September 5, 2018 / 7:04 AM / a year ago

Spain's Agbar moves its headquarters back to Barcelona

MADRID, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Spain’s top water provider Agbar, part of France’s Suez, will move its headquarters back to Barcelona, saying the economy had stabilised following a period of uncertainty over the independence push in Catalonia.

It is the first big company to move back its offices to Barcelona after thousands of companies based in Catalonia moved their legal headquarters out of the region in October of 2017 after an independence vote banned by Madrid that led to the central government sacking regional authorities and taking control.

Agbar had moved its office to Madrid as a temporary measure to preserve the legal security of investors amid uncertainty over the political rift.

However, on Tuesday Catalan leader Quim Torra relaunched a campaign to split his region from Spain on Tuesday, calling on the central government in Madrid to agree to a referendum on independence and rebuffing a vote that could only offer greater autonomy.

Secessionist ambitions in Catalonia, which accounts for around a fifth of the country’s economy and is home to Spain’s second-biggest city Barcelona, are one of the thorniest issues facing Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Reporting by Jesús Aguado; editing by Louise Heavens

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