UAE, Bahrain to act over Europe tax haven claims

EU finance ministers included the UAE and Bahrain on a new blacklist of 17 jurisdictions deemed tax havens. (Reuters)
Updated 08 December 2017
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UAE, Bahrain to act over Europe tax haven claims

DUBAI: The UAE and Bahrain expect to be removed from the EU’s tax-haven blacklist after taking steps to block tax avoidance by companies, the governments of the two countries said on Thursday.
Two days ago, EU finance ministers included the UAE and Bahrain on a new blacklist of 17 jurisdictions deemed to be tax havens. Inclusion on the list could affect billions of dollars of capital flows through both countries, which are Middle Eastern banking centers.
Countries on the blacklist may no longer be used by EU institutions for international financial operations, and transactions involving them could be subject to closer scrutiny.
On Thursday, both the UAE and Bahrain said they did not deserve to be on the list because they had already taken many steps to exchange financial information with other countries. But they pledged to do more to satisfy the EU.
“We have committed to a reform process which will be finalized by October 2018, and we are absolutely confident this will ensure the UAE is swiftly removed from the list,” the UAE said. It said its only outstanding issue with the EU was implementing the BEPS Minimum Standard. BEPS is a set of policies to tackle tax avoidance strategies that allow multinational companies to shift profits artificially to low or no-tax locations.
The UAE has committed to finalizing implementation of BEPS by October 2018 and ratifying it by March 2019, a schedule which would give the country’s federal structure enough time to ratify the measure across all seven emirates, the government said.
“We stand by this realistic timeline,” it said, adding that it was confident of being recognized as an internationally compliant tax jurisdiction at the EU’s next review.
Bahrain said its national assembly had begun the process of approving agreements that would allow it to collect information from its financial institutions and automatically exchange it every year with other countries.
The government also said it would commit to becoming a member of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, a group of more than 100 countries and jurisdictions that cooperate to implement BEPS policies.
“Bahrain will initiate dialogue with the EU on this matter, to ensure understanding and recognition of the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure financial transparency, international cooperation and a robust regulatory environment,” it said.


Microsoft beats Wall Street targets on cloud services revenue

A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles, California US, in this November 7, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Microsoft beats Wall Street targets on cloud services revenue

  • Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase
  • Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter

NEW YORK: Microsoft Corp. on Thursday posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, as more businesses signed up for its Azure cloud computing services and Office 365 productivity suite.
The company’s flagship Azure cloud product recorded revenue growth of 89 percent in the fourth quarter ended June 30. Its shares rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.
Much of Microsoft’s recent growth has been fueled by its cloud computing business, which has benefited from companies rushing to shift their workloads to the cloud to cut data storage and software costs.
“The combination of the cloud, which is a megatrend that’s going to last for years to come, and the execution, this is company that knows how to sell and be innovative — it’s hard to argue with anything here,” said Tom Taulli, InvestorPlace.com analyst.
Microsoft shares have risen 180 percent since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive in 2014, refocusing the company on cloud computing rather than PC software. Its market cap edged above $800 billion for the first time earlier this month.
Azure has a 16 percent share of the global cloud infrastructure market, making it the second-biggest provider of cloud services after Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services, according to April estimates by research firm Canalys.
Revenue at Microsoft’s productivity and business processes unit, which includes Office 365, rose 13.1 percent to $9.67 billion, topping analysts’ average expectation of $9.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“This was another gem of a quarter from Microsoft as Nadella’s cloud vision is coming to fruit on the heels of massive Azure growth and secular tailwinds,” said Daniel Ives at research firm GBH Insights.
Revenue for the company’s LinkedIn business and job network grew 37 percent from the year-ago quarter, while its Dynamics 365 online business application suite posted a 61 percent increase.
The combination of those two services highlights Microsoft’s rise as an alternative to Salesforce.com Inc, which dominates the customer relationship management market, said Johnny Won, founder of Hyperstop, a tech consultancy firm.
“It seems like this is actually a formidable threat to Salesforce,” Won said.
Overall, the Redmond, Washington-based software maker’s revenue rose 17.5 percent to $30.09 billion, above expectations of $29.21 billion.
Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the year-ago fourth quarter. https://bit.ly/2uOF9W1
Excluding certain items, Microsoft earned $1.13 per share, while analysts had expected $1.08.