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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

BERLIN The number of British companies that have explored setting up a subsidiary in Germany tripled this year, amid concern that Brexit would damage supply chains and market access, a German government agency said.

With analysts warning that parliamentary arithmetic in Britain increases the chances of a disorderedly Brexit, companies are stepping up their preparations for the worst-case scenarios.

Whatever form Britain's future relationship with the European Union takes after it quits the bloc, it will have less access to the EU's single market than it enjoys as a member.

Data from Germany Trade and Invest, the official investment promotion agency, showed that 172 British companies had made serious inquiries about setting up a German subsidiary this year, a more-than threefold increase over 2015, the year before Britain voted to leave the EU.

"Demand is rising continuously and reached a record level this year," GTAI official Achim Hartig said on Friday. In 2015, only 50 British companies made serious inquiries, rising to 77 in 2016 - the year of the Brexit referendum - and 111 last year.

The number of concrete decisions to invest in Europe's largest economy, a step that will also grant unfettered access to the internal market even after Brexit, reached a record high of 152 this year.

Copyright Reuters, 2018