Friday, February 26, 2016

[U] Merck Has About $60 Billion Of Accumulated Overseas Earnings -- Permanently Stashed Away From The US IRS. [Pfizer Has More Than $80 Billion.]

The just-filed SEC Form 10-K carries a trove of new and updated Merck information -- but I'll take this one at the top. To be fair -- Pfizer has much more (see page 91) permanently tucked away overseas. And Apple has much more than either of them. Much much more. [Here is but one prior backgrounder on it all.]

On page 127 of Merck's SEC Form 10-K, we learn that Merck's foreign earnings balance has actually decreased slightly from 2014 year end levels. Last year, that figure stood at $60 billion, while tonight's disclosures put the balance about $800 million below last year:

. . . .At December 31, 2015, foreign earnings of $59.2 billion have been retained indefinitely by subsidiary companies for reinvestment; therefore, no provision has been made for income taxes that would be payable upon the distribution of such earnings and it would not be practicable to determine the amount of the related unrecognized deferred income tax liability. In addition, the Company has subsidiaries operating in Puerto Rico and Singapore under tax incentive grants that begin to expire in 2022. . . .

So -- that is why you are hearing a fair amount about this in the 2016 campaign cycle -- there is an awful lot of money being housed outside the US, by US companies like Merck, Pfizer and Apple. Now you know. More thoughts, on the whole notion of repatriation -- and soon.

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