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Apple launches US$12bn bond issue to pay shareholders

Tech giant's bond offering was its fifth since 2013
Apple launches US$12bn bond issue to pay shareholders
Apple boss Tim Cook said the company "paid every tax dollar it owed"

Smartphone giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its fifth multi-billion dollar bond offering since 2013 in an apparent bid to return money to shareholders on a tax-favourable basis.

Apple said it was planning to sell up to 10 tranches of corporate bonds worth US$12bn, or £8.3bn, with both fixed and floating interest rates.

The company was said to have made its move to allow it to return cash to investors without having to touch any of the estimated US$177bn it holds overseas at lower tax rates than in the US.

Regulators are reportedly starting to crack down on US companies stashing cash overseas by developing rules that prohibit them holding untaxed liquidity abroad.

Apple avoided paying US$9bn in taxes in 2012 alone using the practice, according to credit rating agency Moody's.

The company's chief executive Tim Cook defended the company's record on paying tax on US show 60 Minutes in December.

"Apple pays every tax dollar we owe," he was reported as saying.

Apple is expected to do well with the latest issue because of the amount of cash that investors are sitting on due to market turmoil.

Its bond offer was the biggest of a number made on Tuesday by companies also including wealth management group BNY Mellon (NYSE:BK), telecoms group Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), computer firm IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Japanese car maker Toyota (NYSE:TM).

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