Foreign Companies welcome. US Tax dodgers that didn’t qualify in the US, no problem.
By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET:
The Bank of England (BoE) published a list of the 53 companies to whom it has lent more than £16 billion, at absurdly low rates, as part of its Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Launched on March 20, the scheme enables the BoE to buy short-term corporate debt (“corporate paper”) of up to one-year maturity from companies at interest rates of between 0.2% and 0.6%.
To qualify for these funds, you need to be a large company that is adjudged to have been in sound financial health before the coronavirus outbreak but is now facing acute short-term cash flow problems as a result of that outbreak. Your debt must also be rated investment grade at the time of the loan application.
You do not need to be a British firm to qualify for the loan program; you just need to be deemed to provide “a material contribution to the UK economy.” Around two out of five of the recipients are headquartered overseas and the program’s biggest beneficiary so far is German chemicals giant BASF, which was given a loan of £1 billion. Another German company, Bayer (infamous for having acquired Monsanto to then get swamped by Monsanto’s horrendous litigation), also received £600 million.
Many of the loan recipients are in the sectors hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis:
So far, the biggest recipients of state aid in Europe are airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. Some airlines are also getting help from central banks. In the case of the Bank of England’s CCFF program, four companies have received a total of £1.8 billion in short-term loans: British Airways (£300 million), Ryanair (£600 million), Easyjet (£600 million) and Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air (£300 million).
Ryanair is a particularly interesting case given that it has €4.1 billion in cash reserves. As such, it is not suffering short-term cash-flow difficulties. What’s more, its owner, Michael Leary, has made a huge song and dance about the injustice of his cash-flush airline having to compete with flagship carriers primed with bailout cash, which is a perfectly justifiable point if it wasn’t for the fact that at the same time Leary was badmouthing his rivals, his company was also receiving a virtually free loan of £600 million from the BoE.
Five automotive companies have so far received a grand total of £1.34 billion of virtually free credit from the Bank of England. They are (in descending order of loan size):
- Nissan Motor Co (£600 million), which recently announced it will not be shutting down its UK plant, at least for now;
- Toyota Financial Services (£375 million);
- Inchcape Plc (£100 million), an automotive retailer and distributor
- Honda Finance Europe PLC (£75 million)
- Alliance Automotive Investment Limited (£20 million), a vehicle parts distributor
Interestingly, two out of the five recipients are finance divisions of automakers, which dominate the UK’s auto finance sector. As we reported just over a week ago, those finance divisions are faced with a dicey situation as vehicle sales plummet, putting at risk the entire feedback loop upon which the UK’s version of auto leasing — “personal contract plans,” or “PCP” as they’re called — depends. Industry lobby groups have been badgering the government and the BoE for a bailout.
Given the sorry state of the UK brick-and-mortar retail, it should come as no surprise that seven of the companies that received short-term loans from the BoE are in that sector:
- Australian shopping mall owner Westfield (£600 million)
- French luxury retailer Chanel (£600 million)
- Department store giant John Lewis plc (£300 million)
- Burberry Ltd (£300 million)
- Marks & Spencer Plc (£260 million)
- Greggs plc (£150 million)
- Fuller Smith & Turner Plc (£100 million)
Retail sales in the UK plunged by 18.1% year over year in April, the first full month of full-on lockdown, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS). It was the worst monthly decline since records began. Sales at “non-food stores” plunged by an eye-watering 42%. And sales at clothing and shoes stores collapsed 50%. The main outlier was online sales, which rose by 18%. But this surge in sales wasn’t apparently enough to stop troubled online retailer ASOS from hitting up the BoE for a £100 million loan.
BoE Becomes Lender to US Cruise Ship Operator Carnival
Another beneficiary of the CCFF was US Cruise ship operator Carnival — a company with hefty fixed costs and collapsed revenues, which, like all major U.S. cruise liners, does not currently qualify for a single U.S. dollar of bailout money because it is incorporated, for tax reasons, in Panama. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get a helping hand from the Bank of England, which lent it £25 million.
The BoE also holds £170 million in corporate paper issued by PACCAR Financial, a division of US company, PACCAR which owns US heavy-truck manufacturers Kenworth and Peterbilt and Dutch heavy-truck manufacturer DAF.
Corporate Tax Avoiders and Other Bad Actors
The BoE also helped out Johnson Controls, a US company that became the world’s second largest corporate inversion when it decided, in 2016, to relocate to Ireland after its merger with Tyco to avoid paying US income taxes. The company was delisted from the Fortune 500. It is also unlikely to receive assistance from the U.S. government during the virus crisis, should it need it. But that doesn’t seem to matter because it can always go, cap in hand, to the Bank of England and receive a virtually interest-free £370 million loan.
As previously mentioned, in order to qualify for the BoE’s CCFF program, you need to be deemed to provide “a material contribution to the UK economy.” But it’s far from clear what that actually means. Given the prevalence on the list of companies that pay little or no taxes in the UK, it’s clearly not meant in fiscal terms. Close to 30% of the money so far disbursed by the BoE has gone to companies that are owned by a tax haven company or a tax exile, or are themselves incorporated in a tax haven, according to the investigative think tank Taxwatch UK. They include:
- Baker Hughes (£600 million), a subsidiary of General Electric (via a Bermuda holding company). GE is embroiled in a £1 billion tax dispute with HMRC over unpaid taxes going back to 2004.
- Chanel Limited (£600 million), which is owned by Litor Limited, a company based in the Cayman Islands.
- CNH Industrial Limited (£600 million), a US-Italian company spawned from a merger between Fiat Industrial and Case New Holland, which is ultimately controlled by the Agnelli family, one of Europe’s wealthiest dynasties. The company faces no tax liability in the UK since its UK operations are loss making. However, its presence in the UK allows it to receive £600 million from the BoE, which is more than 50% of the company’s £1.1 billion revenues at its Basildon plant.
- Telefonica Europe B.V. (£200 million) and ABB Finance B.V. (£400 million), both of whose holding companies are based in the Netherlands while most of their revenues are generated elsewhere.
Another firm that has been helped out by the BoE is Chemring, a UK company operating in the defense sector that admits in a press release on its website that it referred itself to the Serious Fraud Office in 2018, triggering a criminal investigation into bribery, corruption and money laundering. As confirmed by the SFO website, this is still an ongoing investigation. And while it goes on, Chemring has received £50 million from the BoE.
Below is the full list of all the lucky large companies that have been helped out by the BoE over the past ten weeks. Given the BoE still has £50 billion of funds available to lend through the scheme, the list is likely to grow a lot larger in the coming months. The amounts show represent the outstanding commercial paper (CP) held by the BOE.
In total, 152 businesses have been approved to receive support from the BoE’s CCFF via these CP purchases. But 99 of them have no outstanding CP with the CCFF. In addition, another 99 businesses have applied to the CCFF and, as the BoE says, “have been approved as eligible in principle but have yet to be fully approved for CCFF issuance.” So there are more coming. But here are the 53 with outstanding CP at the BOE:
|Businesses with outstanding CP held by the BOE, 3 June 2020||CP, million £|
|ABB Finance B.V.||400|
|Akzo Nobel NV||30|
|Alliance Automotive Investment Limited||20|
|Amcor UK Finance plc||360|
|Baker Hughes UK Funding Company PLC||600|
|Bourne Leisure Limited||300|
|Brake Bros Limited||400|
|British Airways PLC (International Airways Group PLC)||300|
|Chemring Group plc||50|
|CNH Industrial N.V.||600|
|Compass Group PLC||600|
|Fuller Smith & Turner Plc||100|
|G4S International Finance Plc||300|
|Honda Finance Europe PLC||75|
|Intercontinental Hotels Group||600|
|John Lewis Plc||300|
|Johnson Controls International plc||370|
|Lendlease Europe Finance Plc||300|
|London & Quadrant Housing Trust||300|
|Marks and Spencer plc||260|
|Mitsubishi Corporation Finance PLC||300|
|National Express Group PLC||300|
|Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.||600|
|PACCAR Financial PLC||170|
|Polypipe Group Plc||100|
|Rentokil Initial plc||600|
|SSP Financing Ltd||50|
|Stagecoach Group PLC||300|
|Telefónica Europe B.V.||200|
|The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty||30|
|The Vitec Group plc||30|
|Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Limited||175|
|Toyota Financial Services (UK) plc||365|
|Westfield UK & Europe Financial Plc||600|
|Young & Co.’s Brewery, P.L.C.||30|
By Nick Corbishley, for WOLF STREET.
Beijing squeezes, and HSBC knows where it makes most of its money. Standard Chartered, another UK bank, did the same. Read… HSBC Embraces China’s Crackdown on Hong Kong, Goes All-In on Asia Pivot
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Quick, buy gold with it and then go bankrupt…
Gold is good, but, silver is undervalued compared to gold right now. Gold relative to value, is easier to store and transport though. Platinum is underappreciated, it just don’t got that gold shine.
If I was an owner/CEO of a large company, I would be looking into, how to pull that off.
Physical silver is already getting to be pretty slim pickings out there since March. Be prepared to pay a hefty premium for the better stuff like silver eagles. Not too many spent billions would wipe out supply.
We could Hunt out enough silver to corner the market and drive the price up. What could possibly go wrong?
Aluminum was cheaper 30 years ago than it is today.
In 1983 the first cell phone retailed for $3995. An iPhone SE was launched in April 2020 and sells for $399.
In 1995 I remember reading an article that stated in the near future everybody would have a personal phone that they would carry in their pockets. It went on to say that you would be able to send messages from the phone also!
I remember thinking “We’ll see”.
Or even better, Bitcoins! :-)
£16 billion to zombie corporations or corporations that could have easily weathered the crisis on their own.
Imagine that money going to small UK startups, UK entrepreneurs, Oxford engineers with a bright idea or bringing manufacturing back to the UK.
you just need to be deemed to provide “a material contribution to the UK economy.”
The “UK economy” being that of The Tory Party; Donate and you shall be granted zero-bid contracts …. and no-questions-asked bailouts!
Rank stupidity has a great monetary and political value to The Tories, it’s one of their core values.
And therefore *Nothing* will be going towards the only thing that the UK can actually execute very well: Those Small, Innovative Businesses, run by smart, creative and bright people from barns in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire!
The UK is forked!
No secret that central banks all over the world keeping zombies alive to suck life out of economy. The only peaceful solution to curtail this injustice that I can see is the “helicopter solution”….deploy helicopters to dump tons of Preparation H on the central banks of the world, especially our very own FED and shrink them…Oh, come to think of it, may not work as they are already perfect a**h*les !!! LOL.
Hmmmm, you know what I didn’t see on the list of borrowers on the auto side? Tesla. I think Elon has lost a step here.
He needs to open a factory in UK ASAP, and apply for a loan
Tesla need not bother with a loan. Just sell the BOE a billion or two of stock at $970/share. Perhaps a Federal Reserve SPV could even compete for the offering. If anyone could do that it’s Elon.
The fashion house Chanel, has the fashionistas in a tizzy, with price increases up to 25% on already ridiculously priced merchandise. It remains to be seen if they will get their sales back up after covid and the price increases. I don’t think so.
I bought for my new wife a bottle of Chanel number five. She still has the thirty-six year old bottle. I learned to let her pick her own. She usually smells of Lillies of the Valley of which I approve. She does not even consider that stuff sold now. She does have Petunias in pots around the joint.
Wheres the beef? I mean teeth. What keeps these companies from simply making no attempt to pay the loans back? Thats what I assume will be the case in England as well as the US. Just ring it up to the taxpayers I guess. (Again)
DAF was a ward of the state when it was acquired by PACCAR. Wash, rinse, repeat.
More zombies… more overcapacity… more leverage…
Now that everything is all nice and propped up, nothing further can go wrong… right?
So how exactly does a company collapse and die now? Even if it TRIED it couldn’t now. All thanks to us taxpayers. You’re welcome! :)
I kept my shop open for the face mask scare. We make steel molds and do steel plates for the customers. My employees might have collected more if I layed them off.
Funky fact, I get nothing for keeping them on and not busting the supply chain, so I get nothing from the goomint. The Unemployment Taxes will surely nearly double from this latest hoax.
I have no business or personal debt so if the goo wants to push me I will shut it all down and there will be a shitstorm for the customer who will have to lay off a few hundred, and their customers will lay off a couple thousand.
The Fed Money printer goes Brrrrrrrrr……..The BOE money printer goes …..I say old chap ,steady on,how about another billion….Tea?
Ahh, a spellcheck error….the symbol of the empire wasn’t “a lion” after all, it was “a loan”. Better start changing all those statues quick…any artisans qualifying for short term cash handouts?
Interesting though, on the tiny scale compared to the USA, which has five times the population of the UK….that’s roughly $20 billion in funny USA money….just something they took out of the petty cash box…….
I really can’t even pretend to be surprised by any of the unlimited creation of money that is then thrown at the *most deserving* (Most deserving in this case equates to those with connections to or investment from the higher ups in Government)
The one that did actually make laugh out load was of all things Chanel I mean really just what could they possibly do that is so good or needed for the UK economy? Besides I suppose No5 for all the mistresses or working ladies of the elites along with a handbag or some nice clothes. To call any of that “a material contribution to the UK economy” is truly hysterically funny IMHO. I’m also pretty sure they manufacture as close to nothing as possible in the UK and employ so few as to hardly make a blip on any figures that matter either.
I really am beginning to believe that much sooner than later the younger generations and the majority of the people are going to wake up. They are then going to decide they are not going to be slaves to a totally corrupt and morally bankrupt system that offers them no hope of a future and actually take physical action to topple those who for now hold power and control and give them what they truly deserve. Well at least one can hope it will be so.
The younger generations are powerless. Elections still follow the boomers. Why else would we get stuck with Boomers vs boomers in all our elections – all with the same tired economic models which they never try to understand, but just accept with blind faith.
As a ”pre boomer” myself, I couldn’t agree more JT!
Time and enough for all the boomers ( and their elders ) to get the heck out of the way and let the younger folks who are going to have to deal with the long long term effects of this BS event and the previous ones take over the reins of the guv mint,,, ALL the reins.
The other possibility is just to go ahead and stop in any way needed all the manufacturing of synthetic pharmaceuticals of any sort,,, that also should do the job rather quickly,,,
And, please spare me any grief about how qualified younger folks are or are not; there is literally no difference except for ALL the younger people I know have a lot more ”available” physical energy.
John Taylor and V -VET …Boomer ,Milli, X’er or whatever label you choose do not get to recruit their Oligarchs. They do get to become one and the Oligarch’s view never changes no matter the generation or Moniker. I was shunned by my own generation when I traveled in my military uniform in 1968. I soon learned better. Some of my generation traded in their bell bottoms and became the same old greedy bastards as the same old greedy bastards they replaced. Dammit, things fall apart if we can’t be We The People.
Who said anything about elections ?
Yet another illusion of choice and power to the people which they are not.
I truly believe if they can get this angry and physical about climate change and racism it can’t and won’t be long until they get angry enough and physical about the biggest con being played on them.
Now whilst the results may not be pretty what’s about to happen over the coming months with people being evicted and being made homeless and possibly being unable to even feed themselves or their families could set it all off. As has been said before the most dangerous people are the ones that have nothing left to lose.
Perhaps there is one customer in Manchester that bought a shirt.
Honda: Thanks for the tea, but we found out the British workforce is crap, we will pack up our factory and leave in 2022.
BoE: Oh, here is £75M for your finance company so you can keep selling your foreign made cars for our now unemployed people cheap.
Also – Rolls Royce plc is listed as an automotive company in the article, though it is in fact the company building predominantly aeroplane engines. The car company is called Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd. and was sold to BMW decades ago, clearly a different entity.
Same in the case of Mitsubishi Corp Finance – it is indeed the financial arm of the Mitsubishi company, but they actually deal in financing their heavy industry trades, not their cars (that is likely done by an independent importer far below that £300M value).
Sickening. Physically sickening …
When I worked for J.C.B. (probably one of the few true British companies on the list) I was told that the original Joe Bamford was offered a loan for a million pounds (a lot of money at the time) at a cheap interest rate. He didn’t need the money/loan, but accepted it and immediately lent the money out at one percent more than his loan.
Perhaps time for a J.C.B. credit card to really make the £600 million from the B.o.E. work?
Anecdotally: When I changed jobs (in IT), I was offered work in Germany/Finance/Credit cards because my employers thought J.C.B. on my CV referred to JCB (Japanese Credit Bank). I only found out after the interview but IT is 1s and 0s anyway, whether backhoe truck parts or late fees and interest …
All this new debt adds to the pile to roll.
This “help” is a time buyng.
This new debt is short term. So the tide that shows who is swimming naked, will go out in 1 year max.
Set the timer.
Lol. You really believe that? Based on what evidence exactly?
I am happy to make someone laugh in these uneasy times.
My personal belief is based on personal reasoning.
The newly distributed debt is a very low cost financing, which is fine as emergency help to avoid liquidity issues.
Yet all these companies are expected to operate in post-covid19 world for some time, bearing additional costs and facing reduced revenues;
it is safe to predict that they will operate under breaking point and will return next year for more help.
Better start saving now to help their new bailout.
@Nick Well, I guess Leary’s point is that since he can’t stop his rivals from being mollycoddled he should at least get some of what they get, i.e., free moolah. Still perfectly reasonable and defensible in my opinion.
Also, does “French luxury retailer Chanel (£600 million)” refer to the haute couture house in Paris, the one founded by Mademoiselle Chanel? If so, I am puzzled that such a relatively small outfit qualified for such a large loan. What happened?