MICHAEL WEST MEDIA Independent Journalists
by Jason Ward | Jan 26, 2020 | Tax
Fresenius, is not a household name but it is one of Germany’s largest multinationals and the largest dialysis company in Australia and the world. Fresenius makes big profits in Australia, as in the rest of the world, from government funding for healthcare services, supplies and equipment. Fresenius, through various divisions, does it all and continues to expand in Australia and globally.
Dialysis is a dirty but growing business and is essential to keep people alive who have kidney failure and can’t get a transplant. Dialysis machines substitute the function of the kidney by cleaning the patient’s blood externally and pumping it back in. Sadly, the conditions that cause kidney failure – like diabetes and obesity – are concentrated in disadvantaged communities. As more people need treatment, the private operators of healthcare, like Fresenius, make fatter and fatter profits. Fresenius is now exposed as a tax dodger but has recently paid the US government hundreds of millions of dollars under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to settle charges for a decade of global bribery and corruption to win lucrative government contracts.
Like other multinationals, despite high global profit margins, profits in Australia and other countries vanish through a myriad of offshore related party transactions. As a result, Fresenius has paid very little tax in Australia and frequently reported losses despite continuing to expand. The report details how Fresenius syphons the profits away in Australia and suggests that Australia may provide a window into global practices. Remarkably, the company appears to be doing the same in its home country of Germany as well. While the company pays a high rate of tax on reported profits in Germany, the profits don’t match sales and employees. Are German workers that much less productive than their global peers?
Read full story HERE.