From a note to clients by BTIG’s Walter Piecyk that landed in my inbox Tuesday morning:
When Apple issued its tax-relief press release it created quite a stir as investors speculated on who might benefit from increased US investment. We dissected the release at the time in a futile attempt to decipher what was new investment versus what was already planned or previously announced.
Piecyk’s three questions:
Tax relief = capital return? Apple might also be asked about the timing of an accelerated capital return policy, but the company has more typically updated its capital return policy in late April/early May during its FQ2 earnings conference calls.
Any change in capex guidance? One element of the Apple tax-relief release referenced a $30 billion capital investment. When we asked if that represented an increase from existing guidance, we were directed by the company to wait for the 10-Q to gain greater clarity if anything was new. The 10-Q was filed last week and there was no change to the overall capital investment plan.
When does the US Treasury get its $38 billion? Apple has also not provided a specific timetable for when it will be paying the $38 billion repatriation tax bill to the US Treasury, a question that could be asked during the meeting. The 10 -Q indicates that payments will be made in installments, but does not mention a time frame. We believe it could be over an eight year period based on guidance issued by the IRS on the repatriation tax.
Apple’s 2018 shareholders meeting is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Pacific, 12 noon Eastern. Advanced registration required. (Proxy statement.)
My take: Apple’s annual shareholders meeting, as Piecyk acknowledges, is not typically a source of new information about the company, and I don’t have any reason to think this one will be different. But it will be the shareholders’ first visit to Apple Park and the Steve Jobs Theater, and I’ll be interested to hear what they thought of it.
UPDATE: Friend-of-the-blog Joe Bland shot this video from inside, shortly before the meeting began.