Aggreko head: buyout firms do not pay enough tax

Rupert Soames, who built UK-based Aggreko into a global company, has become the latest high-profile industry figure to criticise private equity.

Rupert Soames, chief executive of UK energy equipment rental business Aggreko, has waded into the current row over private equity by suggesting that buyout firms do not pay their “fair share of corporation tax.”

Soames argued that UK taxpayers may end up paying the price for the industry’s recent success, on the grounds that “if large swathes of the UK economy pay less tax, other companies and individuals pay more”.

His comments, made in a letter to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, come in the wake of repeated trade union claims that private equity firms are guilty of asset-stripping, and amid suggestions from politicians that the industry receives an unfair benefit from the tax deductibility of interest payments.

Soames is one of the most prominent industry figures to speak out against the industry to date. The market capitalisation of Aggreko, which rents out power generators and air conditioners around the world, has tripled under his leadership to its current value of £1.23 billion (€1.83 billion; $2.41 billion).