What’s common to Vodafone which has tax demands of nearly R20,000 crore in India, Nokia which is being investigated for R13,500 crore of potential tax liabilities and Royal Dutch Shell whose India subsidiary has been accused of under-pricing its share issue to the Dutch parent by as much as 18 times? All three have a few common institutional shareholders. BlackRock, for instance, is a stakeholder in all the three MNCs though its stake in Nokia, Bloomberg data show, is relatively small at below 0.1%.
Legal and General has a stake of over 3.5% in both Vodafone and Shell while Scottish Widows owns more than 2% in these two MNCs. Among the larger shareholders in Nokia is Goldman Sachs, which owns 3.1% of the handset manufacturer’s equity — it also has very small holdings in the other two MNCs.
To put the tax liabilities in context, Vodafone’s India revenues, in the six months to September 30 were R17,580 crore, up 13.3% year-on-year while global revenues for the telco in 2012 were £46.42 billion. Industry estimates put Nokia India’s revenues for 2011-12 at close to R12,000 crore.