Apple, Google and Total make international headlines this week

Russia fines Apple, Total withdraws its staff from Mozambique, Google parent company makes record profit, and more.

Billions in inheritance tax for Samsung’s Lee
Following the death of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee in 2020, his family has now said they would pay over 12 trillion won (R152.97 billion) in inheritance tax for his estate and donate his vast private art collection to state curators, according to Reuters.

It is widely accepted that Lee transformed Samsung into the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip maker.

His estate is valued at 26 trillion won (R350.47 billion) and the inheritance tax bill – one of the largest in South Korea and globally – is being closely followed as it could potentially dilute the family’s controlling stake in Samsung.

Russia takes a bite out of Apple
Apple has been fined $12 million (R173.5 million) for violating Russia’s competition laws. Russia’s Federal Antitrust Service found Apple guilty of abusing its dominant position to gain advantage in the mobile app market, hampering the spread of rival apps, according to Entrepreneur.

This follows an investigation that was put in place after a complaint filed by cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

It is reported that the American multinational technology company will be filing an appeal to the judgement.

Total exits Mozambique
French energy group Total has declared force majeure on its $20 billion (R288.8 billion) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Mozambique and confirmed it had withdrawn all staff from the construction site after Islamic State-linked insurgent attacks last month, reports Reuters.

Pandemic boom for Alphabet
Lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions resulted in a record number of people becoming reliant on online services to shop and communicate, and resulted in a record profits for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, for the second consecutive quarter.

This resulted in a 34 percent increase in revenue, however the company did note that traffic and ad sales might slow as countries lift strict lockdown restrictions.

Exceeding Wall Street’s expectations, Alphabet brought in just under $18 billion (R254.98 billion) in profits, and $55.3 billion (R783.36 billion) in revenue in its first quarter of the year, reported The Guardian, which further added that Google’s ad business, the global market leader as measured in sales, accounted for 81 percent of Alphabet’s first-quarter revenue.

India economic outlook under question
The International Monetary Fund upgraded India’s economic growth forecast to 12.5% – shortly before the massive surge in Covid-19 cases that is leaving the country reeling and placing that bullish outlook under severe doubt.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not, however, announced a nationwide lockdown and has instead encouraged states to keep their economies open, reports the Business Standard, which is likely why economists are signalling risks but not totally abandoning their forecasts just yet.

The Reserve Bank of India has kept its 10.5 percent growth estimate for the current fiscal year although its governor said the wave of new infections could delay economic activity from returning to normalcy.