By Stephen Nellis
Apple Inc <AAPL.O> will open a new campus as part of a five-year, $30 billion U.S. investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by U.S. President Donald Trump
The company has been under increasing pressure to make U.S. investments since the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump targeted the iPhone maker for making products in Asian factories.
While Apple has announced no plans to change that practice and experts say it would be economically impractical to make iPhones in the United States, the company has begun to emphasize its U.S. economic impact, from developers who sell software on its App Store to the tens of billions of dollars per year it spends with U.S. suppliers.
Between the spending plan, hiring 20,000 people, tax payments and business with U.S.-based suppliers, Apple on Wednesday estimated it would spend $350 billion in the United States over the next five years.
It did not, however, say how much of the plan was new or how much of its $252.3 billion in cash abroad – the largest of any U.S. corporation – it would bring home. In addition to the $38 billion in taxes it must pay, Apple has run up $97 billion in U.S.-issued debt to pay for previous share buybacks and dividends.
Some investors said the U.S. investments would give the company room to make more stock buybacks or pay dividends without criticism. Apple shares on Wednesday closed up 1.7 percent to $179.10.
Walter Piecyk, managing director for TMT Research at BTIG Research, said he could not yet tell whether the U.S. expansion was an increase from a previous plan or meant investment abroad was being refocused in the United States. Reuters Breakingviews estimated that Apple could have increased U.S. headcount by 24,000 in the last five years.
Trump described the move by Apple as a victory for his efforts
“I promised that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States. Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Asked in an interview with ABC News whether the job creation announcements were directly related to the Republican tax plan, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook gave a measured response.
“Let me be clear: There are large parts of this that are a result of the tax reform, and there’s large parts of this we would have done in any situation,” Cook said in the interview.
APPLE SERVICES PUSH
About a third of Apple’s new spending will be on data centers to house its iCloud, App Store and Apple Music services, a sign of the rising importance of subscription services to a company known for its computers and gadgets. Apple has data centers in seven states.
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