Category: Business Restructuring

In the context of transfer pricing, business restructuring is defined as the cross-border redeployment by a multinational enterprise of functions, assets and/or risks. A business restructuring may involve cross-border transfers of valuable intangibles. It may also or alternatively involve the termination or substantial renegotiation of existing arrangements. Business restructurings can also consist of the rationalisation, specialisation or de-specialisation of operations including the downsizing or closing of operations.

  • Conversion of full-fledged distributors into limited-risk distributors or commissionnaires for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal,
  • Conversion of full-fledged manufacturers into contract-manufacturers or toll-manufacturers for a foreign associated enterprise that may operate as a principal,
  • Transfers of intangible property rights to a central entity (e.g. a so-called “IP company”) within the group.
Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Intangibles had been transferred from a Danish subsidiary to a US parent under a written agreement. According to the agreement the Danish subsidiary – which had developed and used it’s own intangibles – would now have to pay royalties for the use of trademarks, know-how and patents owned by the US parent. The tax authorities had issued an assesment on the grounds that the majority of the Danish company’s intangibles had been transferred to the US parent. In the assesment the value of the intangibles had been calculated based on the price paid when the US group acquired the shares in the Danish company. H Group argued that the transferred intangibles no longer carried any value and that the Danish company now used intangibles owned by the US group. The Tax Tribunal found that tax authorities had been entitled to make an assessment as the transaction ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Normet Norway AS, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-202539

Norway vs Normet Norway AS, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-202539

In January 2013 the Swiss company Normet International Ltd acquired all the shares in the Norwegian company Dynamic Rock Support AS (now Normet Norway AS) for a price of NOK 78 million. In February 2013 all intangibles in Dynamic Rock Support AS was transfered to Normet International Ltd for a total sum of NOK 3.666.140. The Norwegian tax authorities issued an assessment where the arm’s length value of the intangibles was set at NOK 58.2 million. The Court of Appeal upheld the tax assessment issued by the tax authorities and rejected the appeal. Click here for translation Norway vs Normet 190319 Share: ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Cytec, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-90184

Norway vs Cytec, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-90184

The question in the case was whether Cytec Norway KS (now Allnex Norway A/S) had paid an arm’s length price for an intra-group transfer of intangible assets in 2010. Cytec Norway KS had set the price for the accquired intangibles at NOK 210 million and calculated tax depreciations on that basis. The Norwegian tax authorities found that no intangibles had actually been transferred. The tax Appeals Committee determined that intangibles had been transferred but only at a total value of NOK 45 million. The Court of appeal upheld the dicision of the Tax Appeals Committee, where the price for tax purposes was estimated at NOK 44.9 million. Click here for translation Norway vs Cytec 19 March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett Case No 2017-90184 Share: ... Continue to full case
Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

Netherland vs. A BV, October 2017, Lower Court, case no 2017: 5965

A Dutch parent company was providing support services to its foreign subsidiary on a cost-plus basis and received a compensation fee following a business restructuring where headquarter and strategic functions was transferred from the Dutch parent company to Switzerland. The Dutch tax authorities took the view that the compensation paid was insufficient, and that the Dutch parent company was still performing strategic functions for the group. The Court ruled that the taxpayer had fulfilled its legal obligations by preparing thorough transfer pricing documentation and that the burden of proof was on the Dutch tax authorities. The Court ruled that the tax authorities did not provide sufficient arguments to support the adjustment. The original assessment of € 188.342.906 was reduced to a calculated taxable profit of € 42,641,089 and a taxable amount of € 32,067,270. Share: ... Continue to full case

Netherlands vs Restructuring BV, September 2017, Rechtbank ZWB, No BRE 15/5683

A Dutch company was engaged in smelting of zinc. The business was then restructured, for which the company received a small compensation payment. Dutch tax authorities disagreed with both the amount of compensation payment and the arm’s-length remuneration of the post restructuring manufacturing activities. Until 2003 the Dutch Company was a fully fledged business. The company owned the assets and controlled the risks relating to the activities. In the years after 2003, the company was involved in several business restructurings: Activities other than the actual production activities were gradually transferred to other group companies, among others the global marketing and services team (GMS), took over purchasing, sales and deployment of personnel. After becoming part of another group in 2007, the company entered a consultancy agreement with another group company under witch strategic and business development, marketing, sales, finance, legal support, IT, staffing and environmental services was now provided on a cost plus 7.5% basis. Under ‘Project X’, a Belgian company was established in April 2009, ... Continue to full case
Israel vs. Gteko Ltd (Microsoft), June 2017, District Court

Israel vs. Gteko Ltd (Microsoft), June 2017, District Court

In November 2006 Microsoft Corp. purchased 100% of the shares of Gteko Ltd. (IT Support technology), for USD 90 million. The purchase was made with the intention of integrating Gteko’s technology into Microsoft’s own products. Following this purchase of Gteko Ltd., the employees were transferred to the local Microsoft subsidiary and a few months later another agreement was entered transferring Gteko’s intellectual property/intangibles to Microsoft. This transfer was priced at USD 26 million based on the purchase price allocation (PPA). The tax authorities of Israel found that the price of 26 mio USD used in the transaction was not at arm’s length. It was further argued, that the transaction was not only a transfer of some intangibles but rather a transfer of all assets owned by Gteko as a going concern to Microsoft Corp. The arm’s length price for the transfer was set at USD 80 million. The District Court agreed with the assessment. Israel-vs-Gteko-Microsoft-June-2017-District-Court-English-translation-of-ITAs-announcement ... Continue to full case
Spain vs. Dell, June 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. 1475/2016

Spain vs. Dell, June 2016, Supreme Court, Case No. 1475/2016

Dell Spain is part of a multinational group (Dell) that manufactures and sells computers. Dell Ireland, operates as distributor for most of Europe. Dell Ireland has appointed related entities to operate as its commissionaires in several countries; Dell Spain and Dell France are part of this commissionaire network. The Dell Group operates through a direct sales model. Purchase orders are placed on a web page or in a call centre. Dell Spain operated as a full-fledged distributor. After the restructuring, Dell Spain serves large customers of the group, through a commissionaire agreement with Dell Ireland. In many cases, large customers require specialized services and Dell Spain’s client support personnel serves them. Sales to private customers in Spain are conducted by Dell France, through a call centre and a web page. The Supreme Court concludes that the activities of Dell Spain constitutes a PE of Dell Ireland under both the “dependent agent” and “fixed place ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs Corp. October 2015, Supreme Court, case nr. SKM2015.659.HR

Denmark vs Corp. October 2015, Supreme Court, case nr. SKM2015.659.HR

A Danish production company terminated a 10-year license and distribution agreement with a group distribution company one year prior to expiry of the agreement. The distribution agreement was transferred to another group company and the new distribution company agreed as a successor in interest to pay a "termination fee" to the former distribution company. However, the termination fee was paid by the Danish production company and the amount was depreciated in the tax-return. The Danish company claimed that it was a transfer pricing case and argued that the tax administration could only adjust agreed prices and conditions of the agreement if the requirements for making a transfer pricing correction were met. The Supreme Court stated that the general principles of tax law in the State Tax Act §§ 4-6 also applies to the related companies. Hence, the question was whether the termination fee was held ... Continue to full case
France vs. Sociétè Nestlé Finance , Feb 2013, CAA no 11PA02914 and 12PA00469

France vs. Sociétè Nestlé Finance , Feb 2013, CAA no 11PA02914 and 12PA00469

In the Nestlé Finance case, a cash pool/treasury activity was transferred to a related Swiss entity. The function had been purely administrative, carried out exclusively for the benefit of parties related to the French company. The French company did not receive any compensation for the transfer of the cash pooling activity. First the Administrative Court concluded that the transfer of an internal administrative function to a foreign entity – even if the function only involved other affiliated companies ‘captive clientele’ – required the payment of arm’s-length compensation. This decision was then appealed and later revoked by a decision of the Administrative Court of Appeals. Click here for translation France vs Nestlè Finance 5 feb 2013 CAA no 11PA02914 . . . Click here for translation France vs Nestlè Finance 5 Feb 2013 CAA no 12PA00469 Share: ... Continue to full case
Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

Spain vs. Roche, January 2012, Supreme Court case nr. 1626/2008

This case is about the consequences of converting a manufacturer and full-fledged distributor into a toll manufacturer and commissionaire, without actually changing the underlying operations. The Supreme Court decided that the restructured Spanish entity acted as a manufacturing agent that created a PE. The profits attributed to the PE included not only the manufacturing profits but also the profits from the distribution activity on behalf of Roche Vitamins Europe Ltd. in Switzerland. Prior to a business restructuring in 1999, the Spanish subsidiary was a full-fledged distributor, involved in manufacturing, importing, and selling the pharmaceutical products in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. In 1999 the Spanish subsidiary and the Swiss parent entered into two agreements. Under the manufacturing agreement, the Spanish subsidiary manufactored products  according to directions and using formulas, know-how, patents, and trademarks from the Swiss parent. These manufacturing activities were remunerated at cost plus 3.3 percent. Under the distribution (agancy) agreement, the Spanish subsidiary would “represent, protect and ... Continue to full case
Spain vs. Borex, February 2011, National Court case nr. 80-2008

Spain vs. Borex, February 2011, National Court case nr. 80-2008

A Spanish subsidiary of a UK Group (Borex), which imported, processed and sold the materials to third parties, was transformed into a a contract manufacturer. The Spanish subsidiary signed two separate contracts with the UK parent, one for warehousing and the provision of services and the other in respect of an sales agency. Under the first contract, the minerals purchased by the parent would be stored and processed by the subsidiary, which would also provide other relevant services. Under the second contract, the Spanish subsidiary would promote sales of the minerals in Spain, but, as the prices and conditions were fixed by the UK parent, the subsidiary would only send orders to the parent, which was not bound to accept them. The subsidiary could not accept orders in the name of the parent or receive payment. The tax administration argued that there was a high degree of overlapping ... Continue to full case
France vs. Zimmer Ltd., March 2010, Conseil D'Etat No. 304715, 308525

France vs. Zimmer Ltd., March 2010, Conseil D’Etat No. 304715, 308525

The French company, Zimmer SAS, distributed products for Zimmer Limited. In 1995 the company was converted into a commissionaire (acting in its own name but on behalf of Zimmer Ltd.). The French tax authorities argued that the commissionaire was taxable as a permanent establishment of the principal, because the commissionaire could bind the principal. The Court ruled that the commissionaire could not bind the principal. Therefore, the French commissionaire could not be a permanent establishment of the principal. Click here for translation France-vs-Zimmer-March-2010-case-nr-304715 Share: ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. Cytec. September 2007, LRD 2007/1440

Norway vs. Cytec. September 2007, LRD 2007/1440

This case is about business restructuring and transfer of intangibles – customer portfolio, technology, trademarks and goodwill. Cytec Norge was originally a full-fledged manufacturer that was changed into a toll manufacturer. The customer portfolio, technology, trademarks and goodwill were transferred to the related entity, Cytec Netherlands, free of charge. The court found that Cytec Norge AS had held intangibles of considerable value prior to the business restructuring in 1999, and that the Norwegian entity should have received an arm’s-length remuneration for the transfer of these rights to the related Dutch entity. The court ruled that the Norwegian tax authorities’ calculation of such remuneration and the increased income was correct. An appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed in 2008. Click here for translation Norway Cytec-dom Share: ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

This case is about a IP sale-and-license-back arrangement. The taxpayer acquired the shares in BV Z (holding). BV Z owns the shares in BV A and BV B (the three BVs form a fiscal unity under the CITA). BV A produces and sells shoes. In 1993, under a self-proclaimed protection clause, BV A sells the trademark of the shoes to BV C, which is also part of the fiscal unity. The protection clause was supposedly intended to protect the trademark in case of default of BV A. Taxpayer had created BV C prior to the sale of the trademark. In 1994, the taxpayer entered into a licensing agreement with BV C: the taxpayer pays NLG 2 to BV C per pair of shoes sold. Next, BV C is then moved to the Netherlands Antilles, which results in the end of the fiscal unity as of January ... Continue to full case