Apple has announced that it has increased its spending with European suppliers by more than 50% since 2018 to more than €20bn last year and €85bn over the past five years. The tech giant’s European operations reach more than 4,000 European suppliers, which support innovations that can be found in every product Apple makes, including sensors in Apple watches, lasers in iPhones and microcontrollers in Macs. The company, headquartered in Cork, employs more than 6,000 people across an expanding campus in the city and supports more than 2.6m jobs across Europe.
Cathy Kearney, Apple’s vice-president of operations, said: “Europe’s spirit of innovation and incredible talent brought Apple here more than 40 years ago, and the region’s contribution to our products has never been stronger. Our deep partnerships with European suppliers have helped create breakthrough technologies, and we’re proud to work closely with suppliers across Europe as we advance our mission to decarbonise our entire global supply chain.”
Apple has unveiled details of its spending with European suppliers ahead of a key legal case to be heard next week in relation to the taxes it pays in Ireland. The European Commission is appealing against a decision by a lower court which ruled in favour of Apple and the Irish State. In 2016, the commission ordered the Irish government to recover €14.3bn in taxes and interest from the US company, arguing that Ireland gave the tech giant favourable tax terms. The case centres on two tax rulings issued by the Revenue Commissioners in 1991 and 2007 in favour of two Apple companies that endorsed the methods they used to determine their chargeable profits in Ireland. The EU Commission considered the tax rulings in question to constitute unlawful State aid.
Both Apple and the Irish State rejected the decision of the commission and brought court actions against it. In 2020, the General Court of the European Union annulled the decision taken by the commission in a significant victory for the company which has operated in Cork for more than 40 years. However, the decision has since been appealed by the commission to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) which will hear the case on Tuesday. Apple’s legal team is confident it will be successful in the case, pointing to a similar victory for carmaker Fiat Crysler last year over the taxes it pays in Luxembourg. However, it is likely the case will take at least another year before it is concluded.
Figures from last year show the value of the escrow fund had fallen to €13.6bn at the end of 2021 largely as a result of negative yields in the bond market.