Total to move jobs away from London, but says Brexit not to blame

©Agence France-Presse

French energy giant Total said

Paris (AFP) - French energy giant Total said Friday it will move some of its trading and marketing activities from London to Paris and Geneva, but insisted that Brexit had not influenced the decision.

The company said the move, which British media reported will affect 200 jobs, was a result of Total acquiring the LNG (liquid natural gas) portfolio of fellow French energy firm Engie.

"Total plans to consolidate its LNG trading and marketing activities and bring together similar business teams currently split across multiple locations in Europe (London, Paris and Geneva)," the company said in a statement.

"Total's European trading operations will be consolidated in Geneva, the leading commodity trading hub of the continent."

The firm's London-based LNG marketing activities meanwhile will be moved to Paris to join the existing team in the French capital.

"Brexit is not at all a factor influencing this project," the firm said. 

"This project is the consequence of the necessity to regroup teams split between the locations after the acquisition of Engie assets and teams."

Dozens of companies have been reported to have moved or said they would move their operations from Britain to continental Europe ahead of March 29, when Britain is due to leave the European Union. 

But with just six weeks to go, British Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to persuade parliament to back her divorce deal, prompting fears the country could crash out without a deal.