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Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. Quizzed by EU Lawmakers

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Google Inc European Headquarters

Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. were among U.S. companies facing questions Monday from European Union lawmakers about their tax-reducing techniques, a month after regional antitrust regulators raised the stakes by ordering Starbucks Corp. and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit to repay millions of euros in back taxes.

The queries about the “Dutch Sandwich” and the “Double Irish” — tax arrangements that allow companies to declare income in lower-tax areas — came as the European Commission weighs its next decisions on fiscal pacts Amazon.com Inc. arranged with Luxembourg and Apple Inc. with Ireland. Eleven companies, including Amazon, faced questioning from the parliament’s special tax committee in Brussels.

“We make use of tax incentives and tax structures that are well known, widely accessible and are employed by virtually all multinational companies,” Google’s Nicklas Lundblad, senior director, public policy and government relations, told the parliamentary committee.

Elected officials have scrutinized the tax strategies of Google, Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft Corp. and others, which have used the “Double Irish” and “Dutch Sandwich” to move foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda to avoid U.S. income taxes.

Such structures have “no impact on the amount of tax we pay across various European Union countries,” Lundblad said. “The entire Bermuda structure doesn’t erase any tax liability, it defers only U.S. tax.”

Facebook, which has its European base in Ireland, also has operations in the Netherlands in the form of a commercial office, and a legal entity in Luxembourg, said Delphine Reyre, the company’s director of public policy, southern Europe.

“There is no ‘Dutch Sandwich’ in this,” she told the lawmakers. She said has “no preferential fiscal tax treatment”  in Luxembourg.

An earlier hearing by the committee was scuttled when nearly all the corporate invitees declined to attend.

“Unfortunately we were unable to accept previous invitations to appear in respect of tax rulings, due to the fact that we’re part of an ongoing state aid investigation,” said Monique Meche, vice president of global public policy at Amazon. “That investigation remains open, and that’s why our comments, we’re limiting them to tax policy.”

Fiat, which declined the lawmakers’ invitation, and Starbucks last month were told to repay tens of millions of euros in back taxes in the first decisions from EU antitrust regulators on fiscal deals that allowed companies to avoid taxes. After facing criticism by British lawmakers and activist groups, Starbucks last year announced it would move its European base to London from Amsterdam and increase the amount of tax it pays in the U.K.

Google and Amazon were also targeted in U.K. Parliament hearings in late 2012 to 2013 on corporate tax dodging and tactics used by information-technology companies and others. The U.S. Senate has also looked into Apple Inc.’s offshore tax policies. The companies all say they’ve complied with international tax laws.

The European Parliament’s probe, which is separate from the regulatory inquiry by the European Commission, started in February, after documents leaked by a group of investigative journalists showed that Luxembourg alone struck hundreds of secret fiscal deals known as tax rulings with companies from around the world, including PepsiCo Inc. and The Walt Disney Co.

Disney, Coca-Cola Co., and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, HSBC Holdings Plc, Ikea Group and Philip Morris International Inc. also faced questions Monday, with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. declining to appear.

 

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Lenovo Sales in Q3 2020 Surge by 8.3%, HP Sales Up by only 0.7%

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Lenovo Sold 18.3 million PC to Top Other Brands in Q3 2020

Lenovo was the top PC brand in Q3 with a total of 18.3 million unit shipments. According to the research data analyzed and published by StockApps, compared to Q3 2019 when its unit shipments totaled 16.9 million, there was an increase of 8.3%.

Based on a study by IDC, Lenovo’s stellar performance coincided with an overall increase of 14.6% in global PC shipments. Gartner’s estimate of growth in global shipments is more conservative, at 3.6%, but does not include Chromebook sales.

HP Leads US Market with 30.8% Market Share; Lenovo in Third Spot

Lenovo’s market share increased from 24.5% to 25.7% between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020. On the other hand, HP’s market share contracted from 22.3% to 21.6% in the same duration.

In terms of global shipments, HP took second place with 15.4 million shipments, up from 15.3 million in Q3 2019, a 0.7% increase year-over-year (YoY). Part of the reason for HP’s drop was a 30% YoY decline in desktop shipments. Together, HP and Lenovo accounted for 47.3% of the PC market share.

On the other hand, in the US market, HP was the top brand with 5.1 million unit shipments and a 30.8% market share during Q3 2020. Lenovo came in third, behind Dell, with 2.5 million unit shipments and a 15.3% market share.

Acer showed the highest growth during Q3 2020, with an increase of 29.5% YoY in global shipments. Dell was the poorest performer of the top brands, with a 4.6% decline YoY. According to IDC, total unit shipments during the quarter were 81.3 million, while according to Gartner, the total was 71.4 million. Chromebook shipments, which made the difference between the two reports, grew by 90% YoY.

Lastly, according to a report by Statista, the global PC industry shrunk for seven consecutive years between 2012 and 2018. It went from 365 million unit shipments in 2011 to 259 million in 2018. The seven-year slump came to an end in 2019 when worldwide shipments grew by 0.6% according to Gartner and 2.7% according to IDC.

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Combined Market Cap of Five Largest MedTech Companies Surged by $40bn YoY

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Health Insurance

Five Largest MedTech Companies Gained Combined $40bn Year-on-Year

The coronavirus outbreak put immense pressure on the healthcare industry, forcing pharmaceutical institutions to roll out clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine at breakneck speed. However, many other companies also played a huge role in identifying symptoms and keeping the virus under control, which sparked significant innovations in the medical technology market.

According to data presented by AksjeBloggen, the combined market capitalization of Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic, Siemens AG, and Cardinal Health Inc., as the five biggest MedTech companies globally surged by $40bn year-over-year, reaching $394.3bn in October.

Abbott Laboratories Market Cap Jumped by 31%, the Biggest Increase in 2020

The World Health Organization defines medical technology, or MedTech, as the use of knowledge and technology in devices, medicines, and procedures to advance human health. One aspect of that which has been drawing more and more attention lately is remote healthcare services or telemedicine, as the growing number of people seek medical advice from the safety of their homes.

In September 2019, the combined market capitalization of the five major Medtech companies amounted to $354.2bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. By the end of the year, their combined value of shares rose to $398.7bn.

However, the first quarter of 2020 witnessed a significant drop, with the figure plunging to $359.1bn after the stock market crash in March. The following months brought a recovery, with the combined market capitalization of the five companies rising to $385.4bn in June.

The increasing trend continued in the fourth quarter, with the figure increasing by $8.9bn between June and October.

As the leading MedTech company globally, Johnson & Johnson witnessed an almost $40bn increase in the market capitalization year-over-year, growing from $340.3bn in September 2019 to around $380bn last week.

However, statistics indicate that Abbott Laboratories, the second-largest MedTech firm, witnessed the most significant market cap growth in 2020. In December 2019, the combined value of shares of the Chicago-based healthcare company specialized in nutrition, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic treatments, and medical devices amounted to $153bn. After falling to 139.5bn in March, this figure recovered to $161.8bn in June and continued rising.

In August, the company announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued Emergency Use Authorization for its BinaxNOW COVID-19 portable and affordable antigen test that can deliver results within 15 minutes. Since March, the company has got US authorizations for five other coronavirus tests, including the ID Now that can provide results within minutes.

The Yahoo Finance data show Abbott Laboratories market cap jumped to $194.1bn last week, a 31% increase year-over-year.

Siemens AG Market Cap Rose by 20% Year-over-Year

As one of the leading manufacturers and developers of medical devices in the industry, Siemens AG has also witnessed substantial market cap growth in 2020. Their products mostly center around diagnostic equipment and medical imaging systems, the largest contributor of more than €86.8 billion in revenue in the 2019 fiscal year. Statistics show the combined value of the German company’s shares rose by 20% year-over-year, rising from $87.4bn in September 2019 to $104.4bn last week.

The market capitalization of Medtronic plc, the Irish firm that has been at the top of the industry for nearly three decades, rose by 3.5% YoY. In December 2019, the market cap of the medical device company peaked at $151.3bn. After a sharp fall to $120.8bn in March, this figure recovered to $150.4bn last week.

The Yahoo Finance data indicate that Cardinal Health, Inc., an American multinational health care services company providing supplies to more than 75% of the US hospitals, witnessed the smallest increase in the combined value of shares. Statistics show its market cap rose by $350 million after the stock market crash in March, landing at $14.3bn last week, a 3.7% increase year-over-year.

 

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Buy Now, Pay Later Apps Record 8m Installs YTD, Grows by 155% YOY

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8.43 Million People Install Buy Now and Pay Later Apps

Data presented by Stock Apps indicates that Buy Now, Pay Later applications have recorded about 8.43 million downloads. The downloads are on a year to date basis.

Coronavirus spurs BNPL apps downloads growth

The highest downloads were recorded as of September 20th at 1.4 million. As of January 20th, the BNPL applications had been downloaded 962,000 times.

The application downloads recorded a significant decline across the year between March and April at 767,000 and 734,000, respectively.

The Stock Apps research also overviewed the application downloads on a year over year basis. As of September 2019, the apps had been downloaded 650,000 times. During a similar period this year, the apps had recorded 1.4 million downloads.

The research explained the soaring popularity of BNPL apps registered this year. According to the research report:

“The Buy Now, Pay Later apps enables customers to purchase goods with payment plans segmented into installments. The apps have been on the rise this year as the coronavirus took a toll on the economy. Most people lost their jobs as different states imposed lockdowns to contain the virus. Due to the pandemic, consumer spending dropped. Essentially, as the economic uncertainty grew, many consumers were more comfortable buying a variety of essential items that had the option to make smaller payments over time without adding to their credit card debt.”

The research also linked the rise to consumers who are shunning credit cards due to high costs.

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