Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Correspondent
Tom's Feed
Apr 18, 2014

Amazon’s tax-free European profits drop after IRS clamp-down

LONDON (Reuters) – The amount of money Amazon.com Inc reports through a tax-exempt vehicle in Europe has dropped sharply in the past two years, even as European sales jumped, after the U.S. tax authority tightened rules it felt were being abused to shift profits.

Amazon (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) minimizes its tax bill by having the U.S. unit which owns its technology licenses lease the rights to re-license the technology to a tax-exempt partnership based in Luxembourg.

Apr 17, 2014

Strong European currencies eat into company profits

LONDON (Reuters) – As European policymakers consider action to stop a strong euro holding back jobs growth, companies across the continent say the currency’s strength is already eating into their profits.

Some of Europe’s largest companies including Danone (DANO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), SAP AG (SAPG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and L’Oreal (OREP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have posted buoyant first-quarter sales volumes in the past week thanks largely to strong demand in emerging markets such as Brazil and in North America.

Apr 16, 2014

Starbucks to move European base to London, pay more UK tax

LONDON (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will move its European headquarters to London from the Netherlands this year and pay more tax in the UK as a result, the company said on Wednesday.

The shift by the world’s largest coffee chain comes after its low tax contributions in Britain provoked widespread criticism, including Prime Minister David Cameron telling a meeting in Davos that companies that avoided paying tax needed to “wake up and smell the coffee”.

Apr 14, 2014

BG Group’s Singapore trading move seen cutting big UK tax bill

LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) – When BG Group Plc
announced last week it was shifting the headquarters of its oil
and liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading operation to Singapore
from Britain, it said the aim was to get closer to its
customers.

Analysts and consultants agreed that the growing importance
of Japanese and Korean utilities in the LNG market meant the
move would have clear logistical and commercial benefits. But
they also said another motivation was likely at play: tax.

Apr 11, 2014

Tax burden on wages in rich countries rose again in 2013: OECD

LONDON (Reuters) – Taxes on wages rose across industrialized countries last year, as governments sought to reduce budget deficits blown out by efforts to tackle years of economic weakness following the financial crash.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose members include the world’s richest nations, said the total burden of taxes on labor rose to 35.9 percent in 2013 from 35.7 percent in 2012.

Apr 1, 2014

Hutchison wins European court fight against UK tax bill

LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) – Hutchison Whampoa has
won a legal battle that will allow it to offset losses at its UK
mobile phone business against profits from other British
subsidiaries, setting a precedent that could allow other groups
to cut their tax bills.

A European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on Tuesday held
that British regulations covering “group relief” – the right to
share losses between affiliated companies for tax purposes -
were overly restrictive and broke European Union rules on the
freedom of companies to do business across the bloc.

Mar 7, 2014

UK court ruling may prompt more scrutiny of Amazon tax plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Amazon’s tax affairs could come under more scrutiny in Britain, tax experts said, after a judge questioned whether it really was organized in the tax efficient way it said it was.

The ruling comes as big technology groups, including Amazon, face increasing scrutiny in Britain over their tax practices.

Mar 6, 2014

London’s lucrative Russia ties hang over sanctions debate

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Office for National Statistics says as many of the country’s residents were born in Mauritius and Cyprus as in Russia.

The fact British newspapers haven’t coined Mauritian or Cypriot equivalents to “Londongrad” and “Moscow-on-the-Thames” to describe the capital underlines the special social and economic impact Russians have had on Britain in the past decade and a half.

Mar 4, 2014

Ukraine queries shale deals as Yanukovich era under scrutiny

KIEV/LONDON (Reuters) – Commercial deals concluded by Ukraine during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich are already coming under scrutiny, less than two weeks since he was deposed, with lucrative gas projects involving Western companies among the first.

Since Yanukovich fled after three months of street protests that claimed nearly 100 lives, the new authorities in Kiev are looking for any evidence that he arranged deals to benefit people close to him. The acting prosecutor general has said he would review Yanukovich-era contracts for evidence of corrupt practices.

Feb 25, 2014

Foreign companies in Turkey face squeeze

LONDON/VIENNA, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Foreign companies in
Turkey are beginning to feel the effects of a sagging currency,
rising inflation and a growing political power struggle, adding
to fears the country may not be the source of future growth that
some companies had hoped.

As Western companies unveiled their 2013 results in recent
weeks, most of those with operations in Turkey said they were
committed to continuing to invest in the country. However, many
acknowledged bumps in their performance there.

    • About Tom

      "Tom leads our coverage of the oil and gas industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is also author of 'Spills & Spin: The Inside Story of BP'. A former oil broker who turned to journalism 12 years ago, he is regularly interviewed on CNBC and other TV and radio stations on energy matters. Tom has reported from over twenty countries including Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, the U.S. and Russia. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Correspondent, he has chartered the rise in oil prices to record levels, interviewed oil ministers and the CEOs of ..."
    • Follow Tom