Robert Bosch GmbH, the world's largest auto-parts maker, is stocking up on components in the United Kingdom. LVMH, the maker of Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognac, is building up its inventory there as well. Channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel is expanding its parking lot for trucks in France.

European firms that do a lot of business with the U.K. are preparing for the worst. Their frenzied activity reflects the growing likelihood that Britain will drop out of the European Union (EU) without a deal on March 29, resulting in higher import duties and border delays. That concern grew after Theresa May on Tuesday won the U.K. Parliament's backing to go to Brussels and renegotiate her Brexit deal, an option that the EU says is out of the question.

“We now have to prepare for the worst case,” Bosch CFO Stefan Asenkerschbaumer told reporters late Tuesday in Stuttgart. CEO Volkmar Denner added that a no-deal Brexit “would have fatal consequences.”

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