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WEEKLY MARKET ROUND-UP – 16/06/21

A new world for global corporation tax rates?

Earlier this month, G7 finance ministers representing the largest advanced economies in the world agreed a landmark deal on a global minimum corporate tax rate, as well as arrangements for taxing multinationals that could reshape the cross-border taxation regime.

The deal targets a minimum 15% global corporate tax rate, with the details set to be presented to a wider group of 139 countries at an OECD meeting at the end of June, before the final proposal is put forward at the G20 meeting of finance ministers for approval in July.

The agreement aims to clamp down on so-called tax havens by allowing countries to add a top-up tax on company profits in countries with lower tax rates than the minimum. The minimum rate would also apply on a country-by-country basis rather than as an average across the countries that a company operates in.

However, with current statutory (flat rate) corporate tax rates in the G7 countries ranging from 15% to almost 30%, some have claimed the minimum proposed level is too low.

Oxfam International said the proposed 15% “is similar to the soft rates charged by tax havens like Ireland, Switzerland and Singapore. They [the G7] are setting the bar so low that companies can just step over it.”

Meanwhile, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, suggested the current agreement was a “starting point” and that in the months ahead “we will fight to ensure that this minimum corporate tax rate is as high as possible.”

Adidas deal builds on sustainable strategy

German sportswear firm adidas is to become a cornerstone investor in the listing of Finnish firm Spinnova, which makes textile fibres out of wood or agricultural waste.

Spinnova, which is expecting to list on the Nasdaq Helsinki First North Growth Market around 24 June, said adidas had agreed to invest €3m (£2.6m) in the company, through which it intends to “secure access to significant volumes of Spinnova materials in the future”.

The Finnish company is in the process of building its first commercial factory in Finland, but it has plans to scale up the wood-based fibre production to one million tons by 2031. Spinnova stated: “We feel we are an ideal match with the ambitious and pioneering adidas sustainability strategy.”

Adidas has previously outlined its focus on being a sustainable company and has stated that in 2021 more than 60% of all adidas products will be made with sustainable materials.

Klarna valuation nears $50bn

Swedish payments firm Klarna is now considered Europe’s most valuable fintech start-up firm, after a latest round of fundraising pushed its valuation to $46.6bn.

The firm, which is known for its ‘buy now pay later’ system, raised $639m in the latest fundraising round led by SoftBank’s Vision 2 fund, alongside additional participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group.

This means its valuation has increased from $11bn in September 2020 and $31bn in March 2021, to almost $50bn, making it the highest-valued private fintech in Europe and the second-highest worldwide.

SoftBank Investment Advisers noted Klarna has already successfully expanded into the US and “we are excited to continue supporting the team in bringing the next generation of financial services to new markets worldwide.”

Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com