Apple Inc.’s cash topped $200 billion for the first time as the portion of money held abroad rose to almost 90 percent, putting more pressure on Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to find a way to use the funds without incurring U.S. taxes.
Booming iPhone sales overseas are adding to Apple’s cash pile, pushing the firm to embrace offshore affiliates to preserve and invest the money. Cook, who was called before Congress in 2013 to defend Apple against allegations of dodging taxes, is facing questions on what the company will do with its cash pile and fielding calls from investors, such as billionaire activist Carl Icahn, to return shareholder capital.
“They don’t really have that much onshore cash,” said Tim Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co. “They’re still sort of hamstrung on what they can do, barring the ability to repatriate a bunch of offshore cash.”
Cook has been vocal about his desire for U.S. lawmakers to amend the country’s tax laws so that companies can repatriate more cash. Apple’s overseas cash has climbed 70 percent since Cook spoke to Congress, and now makes up 89 percent, or more than $181 billion, of Apple’s $202.8 billion in cash and investments at the end of June, the company said Tuesday, up from 72 percent of $146.6 billion in cash two years ago.